DADT over: Obama hails end of military restrictions on gays

Active duty military members march in San Diego's Gay Pride Parade.

President Barack Obama hailed the end of the policy banning gays from serving openly in the U.S. military, saying its official demise on Tuesday marked a key step toward fulfilling America’s founding ideals.

“Today, the discriminatory law known as ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ is finally and formally repealed,” Obama said in a statement released by the White House. “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.”

The repeal went into effect on Tuesday, ushering in a new era in the U.S. armed forces. The law had allowed gay men and women to serve in the military only if they kept their sexual orientation a secret. They faced the threat of being kicked out of the military under the law if they were open about their homosexuality.

Obama last December signed legislation to repeal the policy known as “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” which had been passed by Congress and signed into law in 1993 under then-President Bill Clinton.

“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,” Obama said.

“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,” the president added.

Under the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy, more than 14,500 U.S. service members were thrown out of the military since it went into effect in 1993, according to the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network.

Gays rights groups for years denounced the law and called its end a important milestone in the fight against anti-homosexual discrimination. Some have compared its demise to the integration of the U.S. armed forces.

‘DIGNITY AND RESPECT’

The Pentagon sent out a memo noting that the Defense Department already has certified that ending the policy would not harm military readiness, unit cohesion or recruiting and retention of service members.

“Effective today, statements about sexual orientation or lawful acts of homosexual conduct will not be considered as a bar to military service,” or admission to the military academies and other programs, Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness Clifford Stanley wrote in the memo.

“All Service members are to treat one another with dignity and respect regardless of sexual orientation,” Stanley wrote, warning that “harassment or abuse based on sexual orientation” would not be tolerated in the military.

The Pentagon said military recruiters are now accepting enlistment applications from openly gay people.

Opponents of lifting the ban had argued that allowing openly gay people to serve in the military could harm U.S. troops’ combat effectiveness. Marine Corps Commandant James Amos had said that implementing the change could cost lives because of the impact on discipline and unit cohesiveness.

Three months before Congress passed the repeal last year, a gay rights group, the Log Cabin Republicans, had won a court ruling striking down the policy.

Repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” is an important development in the gay rights movement in the United States, which has seen progress in its goal of legalizing same-sex marriage. Six U.S. states — New York, Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont as well as Washington, D.C., already allow same-sex marriage.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

California passes 'yes-means-yes' campus sexual assault bill

Californian lawmakers passed a law on Thursday requiring universities to adopt "affirmative consent" language in their definitions of consensual sex, part of a nationwide drive to curb sexual assault on…

National

Syrian refugees top 3 million, half of all…

By Stephanie NebehayGENEVA (Reuters) - Three million Syrian refugees will have registered in neighboring countries as of Friday, but many remain trapped by the advance…

International

North Korean leader's money manager defects in Russia:…

A senior North Korean banking official who managed money for leader Kim Jong Un has defected in Russia and was seeking asylum in a third country, a South Korean newspaper…

Local

MAP: New York City Street Closures August 29,…

The Department of Transportation and NYPD said there may be residual delays near all of the street closures on August 29, 31 and 31. Several streets and avenues will be…

Going Out

'Friends' coffeehouse Central Perk coming to NYC —…

"Friends" is coming back for a one-off special: "The One with the Free Coffee." Warner Bros. is bringing a pop-up replica of Central Perk, the…

Movies

Interview: 'As Above, So Below' directors: 5 ways…

The fraternal directors of the found footage horror "As Above, So Below" dish on the best ways to frighten the bejesus out of audiences.

Movies

Criterion's new Jacques Demy box mixes the light…

Jacques Demy, the most effervescent of French New Wave filmmakers, gets a Criterion box all to himself, with classics like "The Umbrellas of Cherbourg."

Entertainment

Comedian Joan Rivers, 81, rushed to New York…

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Acerbic comedian and fashion critic Joan Rivers was rushed to Mount Sinai Hospital in New York on Thursday after she reportedly…

NFL

3 things we learned in the Giants preseason…

The final score didn’t matter — a 16-13 win by the Giants — but it would’ve been nice to finally see Big Blue’s new-look offense get on track.

NFL

NFL Power Rankings: Seahawks, Broncos, Patriots, 49ers start…

NFL Power Rankings: Seahawks, Broncos, Patriots start at top

U.S. Soccer

5 facts about new England captain Wayne Rooney

Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney was named as the new England captain by coach Roy Hodgson on Thursday.

NFL

Jets vs. Eagles: 3 things to watch

A win on Thursday night at the Eagles would give the Jets a 3-1 record and just their second winning preseason under head coach Rex Ryan.

Style

Trend: White hot on the 2014 Emmy's red…

White was one of the big trends on the Emmy's red carpet.

Food

Recipe: Samuel Adams beer-marinated grilled shrimp

Summer calls for two things: a cold beer and light food. Sam Adams' Latitude 48 IPA fairly bursts with citrus notes, making it an ideal marinade…

Wellbeing

4 healthy ingredient swaps to make your meals…

When it comes to eating well, everyone knows they could be doing better. But cooking in an apartment on a busy schedule is a recipe…

Wellbeing

Heart trumps brain when it comes to movies…

When you need a good cry, do you reach for the movie that’s “based on a true story”? Science says you’re giving your brain far…