[oldembed width="420" height="245" src="https://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/32545640" flashvars="launch=44588091&width=420&height=245" fid="2"]
I am writing this at 9:05 PM PDT on September 19th. Five minutes earlier, the Don't Ask, Don't Tell repeal was effective (Midnight EDT), and there can be no more discrimination in our armed forces against people for their sexual orientation.
This is a BFD, and a long, hard slog.
It took nearly a year for the President's plan to jell. And it would be another painful year before the winning votes on Capitol Hill. And after that, another seven months would pass before Jeh Johnson would hand-deliver the signed Gates and Mullen certification to the White House for the President's signature and transmitted to Capitol Hill. All in all, not that long for a successful legislative and military operation, but inordinately protracted for advocates and especially long for gay and lesbian service members being discharged every day under DADT and for those serving in silence.
And make no mistake. The President directed his forces with precision, methodically insisting all options be examined and re-examined. He realized almost from the beginning that success would depend upon the military, that he would need Gates and Mullen and his senior commanders and the troops with him to bring about this change. And he also knew that would take time. He was determined not to be rushed. The last time this was rushed without a plan and military support the results had been disastrous. He would not make that mistake.
Indeed. He didn't make that mistake, and today that horrible, discriminatory, brutal policy is gone. There's still work to be done with DOMA and treatment of transgendered individuals. But today represents real, tangible progress.
There are still issues concerning benefits that have nothing to do with the legacy of DADT and everything to do with DOMA, the so-called Defense of Marriage Act. For instance, because of DOMA, the surviving same-sex spouse of a service member is out of luck in receiving the same considerations a surviving straight spouse. You better believe there are plans in the works to right this wrong.
Greg Sargent nailed the larger significance of the demise of DADT in a post earlier this afternoon. “It was an extremely hard-fought win — a massive victory for common sense and decency over bigotry and legalized discrimination,” he wrote. “At a difficult moment, it stands as a sorely needed reminder that progress remains possible. Let’s not forget it.”
To those who served in silence: Thank you for your service, your sacrifice, and your patience. Welcome to the light.