Saturday, December 18, 2010

The End of an Era - "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" is Dead

Today, I got an email from Joe Solmonese of the Human Rights Campaign, notifying me of the repeal of DADT. Of course, I was following the votes myself all day, so I already knew we had won. But his letter had some very stirring words that I would like to share with you. He said:

Today, America lived up to its highest ideals of freedom and equality. Today, our federal government recognized that ALL men and women have the right to openly serve the country they believe in. That it doesn't matter who you are, or who you love – you are not a second-class citizen.

Think of the kids out there tonight, watching this on the news – kids who are bullied for being different, who live in fear daily that their parents will hate them if they find out the truth... Think of the relief, the empowerment, the sense of possibility they'll feel, knowing that the U.S. military has said: if you're lesbian or gay, you are worthy. We want you to join us, side by side, as equals.

Think of the people across the globe – some in countries where it is literally a life-or-death decision to come out as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender – who will hear this news and know we're one step closer toward a world where no one needs to live in fear because of who they are.

And take a moment to truly comprehend the lives ruined over the last 17 years because of this discriminatory law. The soldiers, sailors, airmen, translators, doctors and more, whose military careers were ended, whose livelihoods were threatened, whose friendships were cut off, all because the forces of bigotry and fear held out for so long.

They can never get those years back. But I hope they know that their sacrifice meant something. Their courage and integrity helped a nation understand what it means to serve. And that, more than anything else, helped bring about this historic change.

But my favorite quote from today came from Dave Weigel (@daveweigel), a reporter for Slate and who is a frequent guest on "Countdown" with Keith Olbermann. He tweeted today:

You know who we pissed off today? Taliban soldiers about to be killed by a military with openly gay troops. #win #DADT
So, yeah, it's been a joyous day here at our house. I hope it was at yours, too. I'd like to propose celebrating Dec. 18 every year as the day DADT was killed. Make it so!