HRC Blog

Defense Secretary Panetta Releases Historic Pride Video Message

Post submitted by Dan Rafter, Former HRC Associate Director of Communications

U.S. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta released a historic video message to members of the military commemorating Pride this morning. This is the first Pride season in which service members can openly participate. “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” was repealed in December 2010, and repeal was implemented last September.

Check out the video message:

Open service has strengthened the state of our military. In addition to support from Secretary Panetta, the nation’s top military leaders also back open service. The day after repeal was implemented last September, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen said: “…with implementation of the new law fully in place, we are a stronger joint force, a more tolerant joint force, a force of more character and more honor, more in keeping with our own values." Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta said at the time: "Thanks to this change, I believe we move closer to achieving the goal at the foundation of the values that America is all about: equality, equal opportunity and dignity for all Americans.”

It’s important to remember that while Pride month provides a powerful opportunity to reflect on the change we’ve seen in the military in just the last eight months, there is more work to be done to ensure full equality in the military for all members of the LGBT community. We must do more to address the obstacles that prevent transgender Americans from serving their country. And DOMA still denies hundreds of critical benefits to same-sex military families.

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