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By David Keene
Conference showed that the values Reagan cherished still endure
Topic - Aubrey Sarvis
The United States formally ends a decades-old ban on open gays in the ranks on Tuesday, a historic day that the military services hope will pass as routinely as roll calls, marching and lights-out.
With the official end of the U.S. military's ban two weeks away, gay-rights activists are pressing the Pentagon for more than just the right to serve openly.
Three military veterans who were discharged under the law that prohibits gays from serving openly in uniform sued the government Monday to be reinstated and to pressure lawmakers to repeal the "don't ask, don't tell" law before a new Congress is sworn in.
"Brigadier General Smith made history today — not only as an exemplary service member who renders outstanding service to our nation with integrity and honor — but as a proud lesbian acknowledging the tremendous sacrifice her family makes in order for her to serve and advance," Aubrey Sarvis, executive director of the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, said in a press release.
"We are pleased that the attorney general has decided not to defend the constitutionality of DOMA in the military context, just as he has declined to defend it in other contexts," said Aubrey Sarvis, network director. "We are also delighted that, for the first time, he has said that separate definitions that apply to military veterans are also unconstitutional. This is an important step for the McLaughlin plaintiffs."