On Friday afternoon June 15th President Barack Obama hosted a reception to celebrate Pride month, as he has done for the past three years. “You have every reason and right to push loudly and forcefully for equality,” the President told the assembled LGBT advocates and allies.
Today, at the Department of the Interior, President Barack Obama kept his campaign promise to end the ban on gay and lesbian Americans serving openly in the armed forces of the United States. With his signature today, the President put in motion the end of a policy that has hurt our military as a whole, that has forced thousands of those who serve to do so under a cloud of anxiety and isolation, and that has stood as a symbol of the barriers to unity and equality in our country.
In reviewing the debate over the repreal of the ban on gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender Americans serving openly in the armed forces in the context of the debate more than 60 years ago I found some striking similarities. The Harry S Truman Library website has a chronology of the debate from 60 years ago here. This history lesson makeds it clear, that change does not come easily for our armed forces.
â€œI am proud to join my colleagues in honoring the 374thanniversary of the National Guard. As the oldest component of the Armed Forces, the National Guard has played an instrumental role in the defense of our country. Today, tens of thousands of Guardmembers are serving in Iraq, Afghanistan, and other locations throughout the world. Without their sense of duty and love of country, we would not enjoy the many freedoms America has to offer.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said Wednesday that he will call for a vote after Thanksgiving on legislation that would allow gays to serve openly in the military. His announcement makes good on his pre-election promise to resurrect during the lame-duck session legislation that would repeal the 1993 law known as “don’t ask, don’t tell.”
In a 234 – 194 vote, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a $700 billion defense department spending authorization bill which includes a provision for repeal of the ban on gays and lesbians serving in the military. The approval, followed inclusion of the same provision in the Senate version of the bill by the Senate Armed Services Committee. The fight now moves on to the full Senate.