Gay Primary Source

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Prez Advisor Lauds DADT Repeal

"In December, when President Obama signed the historic law that ended discrimination against gay and lesbian Americans serving in our armed forces, he told a story about one of his visits to Afghanistan. “A young woman in uniform was shaking my hand,” he said, “and other people were grabbing and taking pictures. And she pulled me into a hug and she whispered in my ear, ‘Get ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ done.’ And I said to her, ‘I promise you I will.’”

That promise made is now a promise kept. As of 12:01am today, “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” is over. Already, gay and lesbian men and women have sent in their applications to proudly – and openly – serve the country we all love.

I’m delighted to celebrate with friends from around the country, who worked with President Obama to help make this day a reality. Repealing DADT certainly wasn’t easy. There were those who believed our President would not be able to accomplish such a difficult task.

But even when the odds appeared to be against him, President Obama never gave up. Just as I’ve seen him do time and time again during our 20 years of friendship, he demonstrated courage, vision, and the ability get things done. Together with a broad coalition of Americans who care deeply about the ideals of this country, he made this moment happen.

At a time when the President is calling on Congress to put politics aside and act in the greater interest of the American people, it’s important to recognize that elected leaders from both parties deserve credit for ending DADT. In December, I went to the Capitol Building to watch the Senate vote on repeal. I saw eight Republicans join their Democratic colleagues to vote “Yes.” It was a reminder that when the stakes are high enough, and the choice is clear enough, Congress can come together and do the right thing.

Of course, while the end of DADT is a milestone, we’ve got a long way to go. Even on this happy day, there are young people who face bullying at school, just because of their sexual orientation. There are LGBT Americans who still face discrimination, and are denied rights they deserve.

So we are not done fighting. But today, we remember that when we all come together to make this country a better place, change is not just possible. Change is inevitable. On behalf of myself, and the entire Obama Administration, I look forward to working with all of you as we continue our journey toward a more perfect union."

Valerie Jarrett, Senior Advisor to the President for Intergovernmental Affairs and Public Engagement and Chair of the White House Council on Women and Girls, Sept. 20, 2011.

JCS Chief Lauds DADT Repeal

"A word or two on today’s implementation of the repeal of "don’t ask, don’t tell." As you all know, I testified in early 2010 that it was time to end this law and this policy. I believed then, and I still believe, that it was first and foremost a matter of integrity; that it was fundamentally against everything we stand for as an institution to force people to lie about who they are just to wear a uniform. We are better than that. We should be better than that. And today, with implementation of the new law fully in place, we are a stronger joint force, a more tolerant joint force, a force of more character and more honor, more in keeping with our own values.

I am convinced we did the work necessary to prepare for this change, that we adequately trained and educated our people, and that we took into proper consideration all the regulatory and policy modifications that needed to be made.

I appreciate the secretary’s confidence in me and his kind praise, but today is really about every man and woman who serves this country, and every man and woman in uniform, regardless of how they define themselves. And tomorrow, they’ll all get up, they’ll all go to work, and they will all be able to do that work honestly, and their fellow citizens will be safe from harm. And that’s all that really matters."

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Mike Mullen, September 20, 2011.

Secretary of Defence Lauds DADT Repeal

"First of all, let me acknowledge that this is an historic day for the Pentagon and for the nation. As of 12:01 a.m. this morning, we have the repeal of "Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell," pursuant to the law that was passed by the Congress last December. Thanks to this change, I believe we move closer to achieving the goal at the foundation of the values that America’s all about - equality, equal opportunity and dignity for all Americans.

As Secretary of Defense, I am committed to removing all of the barriers that would prevent Americans from serving their country and from rising to the highest level of responsibility that their talents and capabilities warrant. These are men and women who put their lives on the line in the defense of this country, and that’s what should matter the most.

I want to thank the repeal implementation team and the service secretaries along with the service chiefs for all of their efforts to ensure that DOD is ready to make this change, consistent with standards of military readiness, with military effectiveness, with unit cohesion and with the recruiting and retention of the armed forces.

All of the service chiefs have stated very clearly that all of these elements have been met in the review that they conducted. Over 97 percent of our 2.3 million men and women in uniform have now received education and training on repeal as as result of these efforts.

I also want to thank the Comprehensive Review Working Group for the work they did on the report that laid the groundwork for the change in this policy, and above all, I’d like to single out the person who’s next to me at this table, Admiral Mike Mullen. His courageous testimony and leadership on this issue, I think, were major factors in bringing us to this day. And he deserves a great deal of credit for what has occurred."

Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, September 20, 2011.

Prez Lauds DADT Repeal

"Today, the discriminatory law known as ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ is finally and formally repealed. As of today, patriotic Americans in uniform will no longer have to lie about who they are in order to serve the country they love. As of today, our armed forces will no longer lose the extraordinary skills and combat experience of so many gay and lesbian service members. And today, as Commander in Chief, I want those who were discharged under this law to know that your country deeply values your service.

I was proud to sign the Repeal Act into law last December because I knew that it would enhance our national security, increase our military readiness, and bring us closer to the principles of equality and fairness that define us as Americans. Today’s achievement is a tribute to all the patriots who fought and marched for change; to Members of Congress, from both parties, who voted for repeal; to our civilian and military leaders who ensured a smooth transition; and to the professionalism of our men and women in uniform who showed that they were ready to move forward together, as one team, to meet the missions we ask of them.

For more than two centuries, we have worked to extend America’s promise to all our citizens. Our armed forces have been both a mirror and a catalyst of that progress, and our troops, including gays and lesbians, have given their lives to defend the freedoms and liberties that we cherish as Americans. Today, every American can be proud that we have taken another great step toward keeping our military the finest in the world and toward fulfilling our nation’s founding ideals."

President Barack Obama, September 20, 2011.