National

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Defense secretary lays out plan for ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ repeal implementation

Defense Secretary Robert Gates gave the first indication of a move toward the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” late last week when he released a memo calling on military leaders to draft training material needed before the repeal’s implementation.

According to the memos, the effective date of repeal has yet to be determined, but they do, however, outline the upcoming policy changes each branch of the military will face after the law is overturned.

The memos also state that once repeal is certified, the military will no longer be allowed to discharge members of the armed services because of their sexual orientation or perceived sexual orientation and must cease all open investigations regarding gay servicemembers.  The change in policy will also allow previously discharged soldiers the opportunity to re-enlist.

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Gay activists watchful as Obama delivers State of the Union address tonight

President Barack Obama calls for DADT repeal

Though the central focus of President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address will likely be the economy, gay rights advocates hope the president mentions LGBT issues when he speaks to the nation tonight.

Obama is expected to highlight the recent repeal of the military’s anti-gay “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy in tonight’s address, but advocates hope the president will also issue calls for the repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act or the passage of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act.

During last year's State of the Union speech, Obama called for DADT to be repealed: "This year, I will work with Congress and our military to finally repeal the law that denies gay Americans the right to serve the country they love because of who they are. It's the right thing to do," Obama said at the time.

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By the numbers: Chick-fil-A’s anti-gay donations

1946

Year that Truett Cathy opened his first restaurant in Hapeville, Ga. He would go on to found the Chick-fil-A national restaurant chain.

1,500

Current number of Chick-fil-A restaurants, which span 38 states, including 189 in Georgia.

$3.2 billion

Annual sales for Chick-fil-A, according to the company.

23,000+

People who have signed a Change.org petition urging Chick-fil-A to stop supporting the Pennsylvania Family Institute, which is trying to ban gay marriage in the state, and other anti-gay groups.

63

Years that Truett Cathy and his wife have been married, according to a video from his son, attempting to defray pro-gay criticism of the chain.

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Opportunities and risks for marriage equality in 2011

Map of states in same-sex marriage fights in 2011

Guide to USA map with same-sex marriage fights in 2011After a 2010 with few marriage equality measures contested outside the courtroom, 2011 will likely see a number of battles state by state across the country.

On Jan. 18, the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear an appeal to the law allowing gay couples to marry in Washington, D.C.

Still, two states face the prospect of losing marriage equality, an additional seven states could start the process of amending their state constitutions to ban marriage equality, and five could gain marriage equality.

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D.C. gay marriage law survives legal challenge

The United States Supreme Court today refused to hear an appeal from opponents of marriage equality aiming to overturn the District of Columbia’s same-sex marriage law.

It was at least the second time in the last year that opponents have tried to overturn the Religious Freedom & Civil Marriage Equality Amendment Act through the Supreme Court. A similar challenge also failed in 2010.

The most recent challenge stems from a lawsuit filed by Bishop Harry Jackson against the Washington D.C. Board of Elections & Ethics after the board refused to put the question of same-sex unions before the district’s voters. The board said that such an initiative would permit discrimination.