To a crowd of cheering leaders of the LGBT community and supportive straight community including Congressmen and Senators who pressed hard to turn a sour note into a chorus of victory at the last possible moment, President Barack Obama signed into law the stand-alone civil rights act repealing the Draconian 17-year old Don’t Ask Don’t Tell law enacted under the Clinton administration and drawing to a close the lame duck Congress.
As President Obama appeared on stage at the State Department he was greeted by the LGBT community cheering him and giving loud choruses of approval in contrast to a few short months ago prior to the November elections when most LGBT leadership groups gave the President a “zero” rating for approval because he had failed to move forward with any of his campaign promises to the community. One loud supporter in the audience could be heard to yell, “You the man, Mr. President!”
In attendance was LGBT-Today’s own Dr. Franklin Kameny. This was a stroke of pure irony since Dr. Kameny was discharged from government service in the 1950s as a homosexual, fought for many years to remove homosexuality as a psychiatric disease with the American Psychiatric Association, which he was successful as doing in 1973 and fought do get homosexuality removed as a reason for losing a government security clearance, for which he was also successful in doing in 1976 under President Jimmy Carter. Dr. Kameny’s arguments through the years that gays and lesbians should be allowed to serve openly in the armed forces fell on deaf ears for more than 50 years so his attendance at this ceremony was extremely appropriate.
Due to his health, Dr. Kameny isn’t available for comment at this time but will be writing his commemoration of this event for LGBT-Today in the near future.
Shortly after the signing ceremony Secretary Robert Gates was quick to warn gay and lesbian members of the armed forces that it still isn’t safe to come out to superiors or colleagues as DADT is still in effect until the President and Joint Chiefs of Staff certify an implementation plan and disclosure that it will not hurt military effectiveness. Anyone violating this can still be discharged under the old DADT rule. Secretary Gates estimates that full repeal will take effect in 60 days.
Still the United States joins the militaries of more than two dozen nation-states that allow gays and lesbians to serve openly. Australia and several other nations allow transgender members of the armed forces. So far the National Center for Gender Equality has not issued a statement regarding whether they will seek armed forces equality in the future.
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