president barack obama brought the arduous political struggle over the military's controversial "don't ask don't tell" policy to a close wednesday, signing legislation that will bring an end of their ban on openly gay men & lesbian women serving in the armed forces.
the bill repeals a 1993 law ushered in during the clinton administration. obama signed the bill in front of a jubilant crowd of supporters at the department of interior. among those in attendance included vice-president joe biden, house speaker nancy pelosi (d-ca), senate majority leader harry reid (d-nev) & joint chiefs chairman adm. mike mullen.
"this is a good day...i'm overwhelmed & i've never been prouder," obama said. he said the repeal "will strengthen our national security & uphold america's ideas." "no longer will tens of thousands of americans in uniform be asked to live a lie." "this is the right thing to do for our military," said the commander-in-chief. "it's the right thing to do, period."
continually exhorted by a supportive audience, obama said, "this is a moment more than two centuries in the making...over the course of u.s. history, gay americans fought just as hard as & gave just as much to protect the country as anyone else...we are a nation that believes all men & women are created equal."
passage of the repeal was a major political victory for obama & congressional democrats. obama repeatedly promised to repeal the ban during the 2008 presidential election. the crowd chanted "yes we can" as obama was introduced before the historical signing - a reference to his popular campaign slogan.
massachusetts rep. barney frank, an openly gay democrat, called the bill's passage, "the biggest single thing," in terms of the progress of gay rights in america. air force lt. col. victor fehrenbach said, "he made a promise to me a year & a half ago...he looked me in the eye & said i'm going to get this done." air force veteran jeff cadavona said, "when i was in the military in the 60's, they'd hammer you over for being openly gay...if they found you out they'd kick you right out."
the change won't be immediate, however. the white house noted the repeal may take several months to enforce. the pentagon has an 87-page implementation plan for the repeal. over the next few weeks, military officials need to examine & rewrite a series of directives, policies & regulations related to the current law.
- mark j. tuggle
- harlem, usa
- same-gender-loving contemporary descendant of enslaved africans. community activist, feminist, health educator, independent filmmaker, mentor, playwright, poet & spiritual being. featured at, in & on africana.com, afrikan poetry theatre, angel herald, bejata dot com, bet tonight with tavis smiley, blacklight online, black noir, brooklyn moon cafe, gmhc's barbershop, klmo-fm, lgbt community services center, longmoor productions, nuyorican poets cafe, our corner, poz, pulse, rolling out new york, rush arts gallery, saint veronica's church, schomburg center for research in black culture, sexplorations, the citizen, the new york times, the soundz bar, the trenton times, the village voice, upn news, uzuri, venus, vibe, wbai-fm, wnyc-fm & wqht-fm. volunteered with adodi, bailey house, inc., black men's xchange-new york, colorofchange.org, drug policy alliance, east harlem tutorial program, imagenation film & music festival, presente.org, save darfur coalition, the enough project, the osborne association, the sledge group & your black world. worked on films with maurice jamal & heather murphy. writing student of phil bertelsen & ed bullins. firstname.lastname@example.org.