More than 1,500 New Yorkers gathered today in Manhattan to mourn the death of a 32 year-old gay man, who was shot down on Friday just blocks away from the historic Stonewall Inn in an apparent act of anti-gay bias.
GLAAD Applauds End of 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell'
GLAAD joins the country in celebrating the end of the military’s discriminatory “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” law. For far too long, lesbian, gay, and bisexual men and women wanting to serve their country were forced to lie about who they are to their friends and colleagues, or face removal.
“Today, America took a momentous step forward in the pursuit of full equality by fully repealing 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' and opening its military to every brave man and woman willing to serve, whether straight or gay,” said Acting GLAAD President Mike Thompson. “At long last, gay and lesbian service members can serve their country openly and honestly. The courage, perseverance and patriotism displayed by the American military shines even more brightly today as our nation strengthens its national security and takes a firm stand against discrimination in our Armed Forces.”
This law, which prevented our military from keeping all of its best and brightest in the ranks, was opposed by more than 80% of Americans. Although the end of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” is certainly a moment to celebrate, the military still has more progress to make towards full equality.
Openly transgender Americans are still unable to serve their country in the armed forces, no matter how skilled or capable they are. And because of the so-call “Defense of Marriage Act,” gay and lesbian Americans who legally marry their spouses may not have their marriages recognized by the state where they reside, their employers, or the federal government. This leaves gay and lesbian service members less able to care for their families, and less protected against potential tragedy.
On this historic day, and in this time of celebration, we call on the media to highlight the stories of men and women whose lives were impacted by this discriminatory law as they served their country in the military (or were unable to). Already, the Associated Press is telling the stories of people like Navy Lt. Gary Ross and his partner of 11 years Dan Swezy, who were married exactly one minute after midnight in Vermont. and the New York Times profiles the founder of OutServe "J.D. Smith" who is finally able to reveal his true identity, 1st Lt. Josh Seefried, a 25-year-old active-duty Air Force officer. We thank the media for telling these stories, and ask reporters and journalists to continue to do so in their coverage of the end of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell."
GLAAD has several available current, former, and future service members who are available to speak with the media. Please contact us with any requests.