After 18 years and more than 14,000 discharges, “don’t ask, don’t tell” finally ended at 12:01 this morning. For the first time in the nation’s 235-year history, gays and lesbians can serve openly in the U.S. military.
President Barack Obama took to Twitter to mark the end of the ban, and the White House posted video of gay veterans talking about what DADT’s demise means to them. A Pentagon press conference is planned later today.
OutServe, a group for active-duty LGBT military personnel, published a DADT repeal issue of its magazine featuring 101 newly out servicemembers. And one gay servicemember stationed in Germany came out to his father in the middle of the night and posted the emotional clip on YouTube (video below).
Servicemembers Legal Defense Network said 100 events are planned in all 50 states to celebrate the end of DADT, including in Austin/Fort Hood, Dallas, El Paso, Houston and San Antonio. The Dallas celebration is from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. at Resource Center Dallas.
“Today marks the official end of ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ and is an historic milestone along the journey to achieving LGBT equality in America’s military,” SLDN Executive Director Aubrey Sarvis said in a statement. “Thanks to veterans, active duty, leaders, allies and supporters everywhere, this is a monumental day for our service members and our nation. Indeed, we have taken a tremendous leap forward for LGBT equality in the military.
“Our work is far from done, but today we pay tribute to the service and sacrifice of our patriots as we look forward to a new era of military service — one that honors the contributions of all qualified Americans who have served or who wish to serve,” Sarvis said.
Below are more statements on the end of DADT, as well as video of the gay servicemember coming out to his dad.