After last fall’s repeal of the “Don’t ask, don’t tell” policy of gays serving openly in the military, the Pentagon is officially marking this Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Pride Month.
“As we recognize Pride month, I want to personally thank all of our gay and lesbian service members, LGBT civilians, and their families for their dedicated service to our country,” Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said in a video statement to troops this morning.
“Before the repeal of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,’ you faithfully served your country with professionalism and courage. And just like your fellow service members, you put your country before yourself,” he said. “And now — after repeal, you can be proud of serving your country, and be proud of who you are when in uniform.”
President Obama issued a proclamation for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Pride Month back on June 1, touting how his administration has worked to “broaden opportunity, advance equality, and level the playing field for LGBT people and communities.”
“I call upon the people of the United States to eliminate prejudice everywhere it exists, and to celebrate the great diversity of the American people,” Obama proclaimed.
In his video, Panetta said that DADT repeal “reminds us that integrity and respect remain the cornerstones of our military culture.”
“The Army, Navy, Marine Corps and Air Force implemented the repeal with a focus on respect and individual dignity,” he said. “…Going forward, I remain committed to removing as many barriers as possible to make America’s military a model of equal opportunity, to ensure all who are qualified can serve in America’s military, and to give every man and woman in uniform the opportunity to rise to their highest potential.”