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Gay man discharged under ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ named Presidential Inauguration citizen co-chair

The Presidential Inauguration Committee announced Thursday (January 17) that an openly gay veteran of the Air Force will be among the eight “Citizen Co-Chairs” for President Obama’s second inaugural ceremony.

David Hall, an official with Outserve-SLDN who helped with the successful effort to repeal the Don’t Ask Don’t Tell law banning open gays from the military, was chosen as one of eight Americans to “reflect the core values of this Administration and the theme of the 57th Presidential Inauguration: Our People. Our Future.”

Presidential Inauguration Committee Executive Director David Cusack issued a statement saying each of the eight co-chairs was selected for his or her “extraordinary contributions to their communities.”

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SLDN sues government over Defense of Marriage Act

Now that gays and lesbians can serve openly in the United States military, the next step in the legal battle is to secure the same partner benefits for married same-sex couples that heterosexual couples enjoy.

Servicemembers Legal Defense Network today filed a federal lawsuit against Attorney General Eric Holder, Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta and Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric Shinseki on behalf of eight former and current active duty soldiers over the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act, a 1996 law which prevents the government from recognizing same-sex marriages, even those performed legally in jurisdictions that allow them.

“The plaintiffs, each legally married, want the armed services to recognize their families and seek the same family support and benefits for their same-sex spouses that the services and Department of Veterans Affairs provide to opposite-sex spouses,” SLDN said today via a media release.

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Atlanta ceremony marks end of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’

There were many poignant moments Monday evening as about 200 Atlantans gathered in Piedmont Park to mark the end of the U.S. military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy. But none were more touching than when Danny Ingram, national president of American Veterans for Equal Rights, brought to the podium the very officer who had discharged him from the Army for being gay almost 20 years ago.

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Local organizations to celebrate ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ repeal

American Veterans for Equal Rights' Danny IngramSept. 20 will mark a major turning point in the fight for LGBT equality, as the military’s anti-gay “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy, a law that bans gay and lesbian soldiers from serving openly, will finally be repealed. At least two local events are planned to commemorate the milestone.

Passed by Congress in 1993 and signed into law by President Bill Clinton, “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” was the basis for some 14,000 military discharges during its 18 year-history.

The repeal effort was one of the final acts of the Democratically controlled 111th Congress and fulfilled a 2008 campaign pledge from President Barack Obama.

“By ending ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,’ no longer will our nation be denied the service of thousands of patriotic Americans forced to leave the military, despite years of exemplary performance, because they happen to be gay,” Obama said after Congress passed the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell Repeal Act of 2010 in late December.