- GOP hopes taking shutdown off the table with budget deal will pay dividends
- Chinese Death Star: The moon cited as the perfect launch pad for ballistic missiles
- Help wanted: Homeland Security plagued by vacancies at the top
- We are not amused: Queen’s protection officers warned to keep ‘sticky fingers’ off the royal cashews
- Unleash the crossbows: Gov. Scott Walker creates new hunting season
- Bubonic plague kills 20 in Madagascar
- G-20 diplomats fell for hacker attack promising nude photos of former French first lady Carla Bruni
- Minnesota guardsman charged with stealing private soldier data for fake IDs
- Florida appeals court rules universities can’t regulate guns
- Vladimir Putin defends Russian conservative values
Furor fades a year after lifting of military’s gay ban
NEW YORK (AP) — They are images Americans had never seen before. Jubilant young men and women in military uniforms marching beneath a rainbow flag in a gay-pride parade. Soldiers and sailors returning from deployment and, in time-honored tradition, embracing their beloved — only this time with same-sex kisses.
It’s been a year now since the policy known as “don’t ask, don’t tell” was repealed, enabling gay and lesbian members of the military to serve openly, no longer forced to lie and keep their personal lives under wraps.
The Pentagon says the repeal has gone smoothly, with no adverse effect on morale, recruitment or readiness. President Obama cites it as a signature achievement of his first term, and his Republican challenger, Mitt Romney, says he would not push to reverse the change if elected in November.
Some critics persist with complaints that the repeal has infringed on service members whose religious faiths condemn homosexuality. Instances of anti-gay harassment have not ended, and activists are frustrated that gay and lesbian military families don’t yet enjoy the benefits and services extended to other military families.
Yet the clear consensus is that repeal has produced far more joy and relief than dismay and indignation. There’s vivid evidence in photographs that have rocketed across cyberspace, such as the military contingent marching in San Diego’s gay pride parade and Marine Sgt. Brandon Morgan leaping into the arms of his boyfriend after returning from six months in Afghanistan.
“But when it comes down to it, we didn’t intend for this go to worldwide,” he said. “We were just happy to be together.”
There have been many such milestones since repeal took effect on Sept. 20, 2011:
• In December, a lesbian sailor won the right to the coveted “first kiss” when the USS Oak Hill returned to port in Virginia after 80 days at sea. The crowd on hand to welcome the ship screamed in delight and waved flags as Petty Officer 2nd Class Marissa Gaeta shared a kiss with her partner, Citlalic Snell — a moment captured in a YouTube clip that drew 1.5 million viewers.
• In June, Air Force Tech. Sgt. Erwynn Umali and his civilian partner were united in a civil union ceremony at the chapel at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst in New Jersey, with a Navy chaplain presiding.
Gen. Smith and Ms. Hepner were married in March in the District of Columbia, one of many same-sex couples inspired to wed when they no longer had to conceal relationships. Among other newlyweds are Air Force Maj. Adrianna Vorderbruggen and her civilian wife, Heather Lamb, who married in June and are raising a 17-month-old son near Washington.
Ms. Lamb said she had attended a squadron family and spouse support event and was recognized by the commander during Maj. Vorderbruggen’s recent promotion ceremony.
“None of it could have happened before repeal,” Ms. Lamb said.
Another couple, Marine Maj. Alisdair Mackay and Stephen Peters, were married last December in New York shortly before Maj. Mackay began a one-year deployment to Afghanistan. Mr. Peters, a former Marine discharged under “don’t ask, don’t tell” in 2007, said the post-repeal experience had been wonderful, by and large, for him and Maj. Mackay.
By Mangosuthu Buthelezi
Memories of a long brotherhood tempered in common struggle
- Obama's Afghanistan experts stumped on U.S. death toll, war costs during hearing
- NAPOLITANO: A conspiracy so vast
- Inside China: Ukraine gets nuke umbrella
- House votes for bargain to end budget drama
- Chinese man fed up with his girlfriend's shopping jumps to his death
- Comma on!: Twitter erupts over Obama-Castro 'marriage'
- 80 people publicly executed across North Korea for films, Bibles
- U.S. pilot scares off Iranians with 'Top Gun'-worthy stunt: 'You really ought to go home'
- Somber duty: U.S. presidents in hot demand at Mandela's memorial
- MALCOLM/REIMER: Over-criminalization undermines respect for legal system
Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
Consummate traveler Todd DeFeo explores the unique stories that make destinations worth going to.
Covering the world of soccer, including the World Cup, Major League Soccer, D.C. United and the English Premier League and other interesting sporting events.
Born in 1930 in rural Missouri, Charles Vandegriffe, Sr., brings his time and place to the Communities.
Columns from Voices around the World talking about the events, people, politics and social issues that concern us wherever, and whoever, we are.
Extraordinary day at Redskins Park
White House pets gone wild!
Let it snow