US Defense Department honors gay pride

US Defense Department celebrates June as Gay Pride Month

US Defense Department honors gay pride
16 June 2012

US Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta released a video celebrating gay pride and the contributions of LGBT troops.

‘The successful repeal of "Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell" proved to the nation that, just like the country we defend, we share different backgrounds, different values and different beliefs,’ Panetta said. ‘But together we form the greatest military force in the world.’

The official message was the first time the Department of Defense recognized Gay Pride Month. For 18 years, gay and lesbian troops served under Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. That policy, which started in 1993, barred discrimination of gay troops, but also kept military personnel from being out. According to Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, a non-profit that works with LGBT sailors, soldiers and airmen, approximately 14,500 troops have been discharged under DADT.

‘A year ago, our brave gay and lesbian service members were still serving in silence due to the discriminatory "Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell" law,’ said SLDN’s executive director Aubrey Sarvis in a press release. ‘Today, in this historic message, Secretary Panetta has affirmed their invaluable contributions to our nation’s military and in doing so, shined a bright light on how far we have progressed toward full LGBT equality in our military.’

As reported by the Army Times. the Pentagon has a history of celebrating diversity.

‘Hallway displays and activities, for example, have marked Black History Month and Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month,’ the newspaper noted.

Although the repeal of DADT repeal has brought changes few could have imagined, out students at military academies, the new environment has not impacted the armed forces’ bottom line. In a May press conference Panetta noted LGBT troops serving openly is ‘not impacting on morale. It’s not impacting on unit cohesion. It is not impacting on readiness. Very frankly, my view is that the military has kind of moved beyond it. It’s become part and parcel of what they’ve accepted within the military.’

HAVE YOUR SAY

MORE TOP STORIES

Watch Christian extremist's head nearly explode as she reacts to equal marriage
No thumbnail available

Dave Agema says parents will have no recourse as schools turn kids gay

Republican National Committee member in Michigan ratchets up anti-gay rhetoric
No thumbnail available

Conservative pundit says 'I think everybody is a little bit bisexual' - but he is not

Sherri Shepherd takes exception when Will Cain makes statement while co-hosting ABC's The View
No thumbnail available

Adam Lambert hates being 'labeled' as gay

'Gay is just one of many great colors in the collective box of humanity'
No thumbnail available

Italy's Senate makes fresh bid for gay marriage

Italy's Senate will start the debate on a new law allowing same-sex marriage. Senator Sergio Lo Giudice: 'We are very late'
No thumbnail available
No thumbnail available

Brazil guarantees assisted reproduction for gay couples

The Federal Council of Medicine fixed a law’s wording to ensure same-sex couples’ access to assisted reproduction
No thumbnail available

Gay Coffee brand pours into marketplace

Massachusetts company uses gay culture and history to market new brew
No thumbnail available

Openly gay NBA star John Amaechi says homophobia in sport is ‘death by 1,000 cuts’

The first former NBA player to come out publicly thinks sports leaders should be held more accountable for homophobia in sport
No thumbnail available

Ex Australia's PM Kevin Rudd goes from 'dinosaur' to backing gay marriage

In an unforeseen shift of opinion, Australian MP Kevin Rudd has thrown his full support behind changing federal legislation on same sex marriage