ARLINGTON, Va. — Navy Secretary Ray Mabus slammed the “insidious and morally wrong” policy of “don’t ask, don’t tell” that kept gays in the military closeted until the law’s 2011 repeal.
Speaking at the Defense Department’s LGBT Pride Month event today, Mabus said despite the “flawed logic” of the original policy “the Navy, the Marines, the Army, the Air Force, Coast Guard are the most powerful forces in the world today.”
“It shows that a more diverse force is a stronger force,” he added.
The DoD says there are currently 65,000 active-duty LGBT service members and a million LGBT veterans.
“Throughout our history, brave LGBT soldiers, sailors, airmen, Coast Guardsmen, and Marines have served and fought for our nation. Their readiness and willingness to serve has made our military stronger and our nation safer,” Defense Secretary Ashton Carter said in a statement released today. “We continue to take great pride in all that these men and women contribute to the Department and our mission. Their hard work, courage, and sacrifices make them respected members of our diverse DoD family.”
“Through their service these Americans help ensure that we as a force embody the values we’re sworn to uphold. And that our republic, born from the idea that all are created equal, endowed with unalienable rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, will remain strong and secure. These words are more than a pinnacle to strive for, they are principles we must promote every day.”
Carter urged the department to “take pride in all who step forward to serve our country.”
“All who answer the call to service are doing the noblest thing they can do with their lives: to provide the security for others so they can dream their dreams, raise their children, and live full lives,” he said.
Pentagon press secretary Peter Cook told reporters on Monday “there continues to be progress on that front, even in the last few days” of Carter deciding which direction the military will go on dealing with transgender service members.
“There have been a range of — I’m not going to get into private deliberations… but there have been — the secretary challenged people within the department to work out issues resolving — to try and resolve this issue,” Cook said. “And there has been progress in terms of trying to consider how to move forward here and resolve this issue in the fashion that he first outlined several months ago.”
“And I can tell you that there have been significant conversations within the building on that front. And we expect the secretary, as he said recently, to be able to announce something soon.”