I just looked outside. The sky is not falling. And if you don't subscribe to the notion that the Mayans predicted the end of the world on Dec. 21, things appear to be chugging right along as they always have.
But if you asked outgoing U.S. Rep. Todd Akin (R-Mo.), the recent repeal of the military's “Don't Ask, Don't Tell” policy, in addition to recent marriage victories achieved in the last election, prove the world is surely in its last days.
You remember Akin. He's the guy that tried to justify his position on abortion by saying that women who are legitimately raped have a way of shutting down their body to prevent pregnancy. That statement caused him to lose any credibility in his race for U.S. Senate against incumbent Claire McCaskill.
Today marks the official one-year anniversary of the repeal of the discriminatory law barring gays and lesbians from openly serving in the United States armed services.
The law, known as “Don't Ask, Don't Tell,” was the basis for more than 13,000 military discharges from 1993 to 2011. It was signed into law by then-President Bill Clinton and was originally intended to keep the public and private lives of soldiers separate.
President Barack Obama commented today on the one-year anniversary by praising the armed services for adapting to the change in policy. Obama fulfilled a campaign promise by signing repeal into law.
On Sept. 20, the United States military will mark the one-year anniversary of the official repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” the 1993 law that barred gays and lesbians from openly serving in the armed services. As the milestone nears, gay military members are thrilled to be able to be out, but note that inequities remain.
“During DADT, I did not ever hang out with other gays or even act on doing anything in fear of being caught so I waited until it was repealed to come out,” said Joshua Gravett, a gay Georgia native and sergeant in the U.S. Army currently stationed in Afghanistan.
Before repeal, Gravett — who enlisted at age 17 — planned to leave the Army. Now, he is considering completing the 20-year military career that would allow him to retire from the service at age 37.
My father was a war veteran. During a debate on “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” with me years ago, he shared his thoughts on why straight men in the military were uncomfortable with gays serving.
It had nothing to do with sexuality, my dad explained, but instead came from an interpretation of weakness. He personally had no concern about someone hitting on him, but he was convinced a gay man would lose his nerve in battle and cause my father to die along with him.
That was based on the way my father grew up, thinking the only gay men he knew were the extremely effeminate men he saw around town and misinterpreted their character and womanly gait as frail.
A group of soldiers serving in Afghanistan are lending their voices to the “It Gets Better” project, a viral movement meant to reach out to bullied queer youth.
“It's hard being different when you're young and even when you're old. But once you realize that you have friends that are going to accept you for who you are, and the sooner the accept yourself for who you are, the sooner you'll realize that life gets better,” one female soldier says in the video.
A year ago, these soldiers could have been discharged under the military's “Don't Ask, Don't Tell” policy. The discriminatory law was officially overturned on Sept. 20, 2011. Some 13,000 soldiers were discharged due to their sexual orientation or perceived sexual orientation before the law was repealed.
The anti-gay law known as “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” finally came to an end on Sept. 20 after prohibiting open gays from serving in the U.S. military for 18 years.
No other news event had as much impact on the LGBT community as the lifting of the ban — allowing an estimated 66,000 gay people to begin serving openly — which is why we’re naming the end of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” as the story of the year for 2011.
The law came to an end thanks to repeal legislation that President Obama signed into law in December 2010. The bill provided for an end to “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” after 60 days passed following certification from the president, the defense secretary and the chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.