September 19, 2011
By Adam Bink
As of now, the policy known as “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” is finally a memory. At the stroke of midnight, the policy ended, approximately 9 months after Congress voted to repeal it and the President signed that repeal into law.
The proudest memory I have in this fight is working with the Courage team and all of you at Prop8TrialTracker…sharing information on the whip count, reporting back after calls to Senators, pushing back on mis-information. I took a trip down memory lane through some past coverage and thought you’d like to join. Some highlights from late in the fight:
- A legislative analysis post laying out why DADT repeal is not dead yet after the Senate initially failed to reach cloture on repeal.
- Whip counts. An example is here on the Lieberman/Collins bill. Check out the comments — sharing information and tips like it’s our job. And it was!
- The Senate victory thread after we defeated the filibuster.
- The signing ceremony thread.
- Post-ceremony roundup of coverage.
The comments are just so much fun to read back through. What a mighty force we were, together, pushing this thing home. Just like in New York State on marriage equality, we kept pushing and pushing and pushing until it was finished.
And to all the servicemembers who served in silence, or who took a stand and stood up, thank you for both your service and your courage. It took courage to do either, and you helped get a nation to pay attention to this injustice.
For more coverage, here’s the link to all the posts on that topic.
Let’s close with three stats. Those numbers are 5,730; 226,779; and 723,145.
Those are the numbers of phone calls Courage members and P8TTers made to Senators; letters we wrote to family and friends; and signatures delivered in support of repeal. Truly remarkable. And when compared with other allied member organizations, bloggers, blog readers and folks in Congress carrying the banner high like Patrick Murphy, we could do anything.
The fight pivots to repealing the Defense of Marriage Act. We need your help to do that. Right now, servicemembers can serve openly and honestly, but a lesbian Air Force servicemember cannot obtain health insurance for her spouse. The spouse of a gay Marine does not receive survivor benefits if his husband dies in the line of duty. They serve their country, but don’t get what should be coming down them. They’re still treated as second-class servicemembers. That’s where we come in. We repealed one law after a long push. And we can do it again.
This is an open thread for coverage of this proud day.
Update: A wonderful piece from former Rep. Patrick Murphy on Huffington Post, and a wonderful profile in the NYTimes on JD Smith, now better known as Josh, who is able to be open about his identity and his work with OutServe.
Update 2: Statement from President Obama:
THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 20, 2011
Statement by the President on the Repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell
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.
Update 3: A transcript of today’s news conference with Secretary Panetta and Admiral Mullen on DADT and other topics.
Update 4: In response to today’s events, the government filed a suggestion of mootness and motion to dismiss the complain in the LCR v. USA case.