Upon news that the President will announce in tonight’s State of the Union that open service by gays, lesbians and bisexuals in the U.S. Armed Forces will begin this year, HRC President Joe Solmonese issued the following statement:
“Very soon, what will matter in the U.S. military is how you do your job, not your sexual orientation. Last year the President committed to working with Congress to repeal the ban on open service by gay, lesbian and bisexual people and tonight’s announcement is welcome news for all Americans ready to close the book on discrimination in the ranks. Not only does repeal mean troops will be treated with the dignity and respect they deserve, but our nation will be stronger with the best and brightest able to serve in uniform. Tonight is the culmination of a promise kept by this President.
“The issue most prevalent in tonight’s speech was jobs and with discrimination in the military soon behind us, there remain a number of pressing issues for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community when it comes to economic security. The President and Congress can do much more to ensure the economic empowerment of LGBT people including ending the unfair taxation of partner health benefits, prohibiting workplace discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity, and ensuring that all married couples have access to the same federal benefits and protections for their families. We look forward to working with this President and allies in Congress on the challenges ahead.”