With the end of “Don't Ask, Don't
Tell” on Tuesday, gay and bisexual troops will no longer be forced
to hide their sexuality.
A plan to end the policy, which began
as a compromise, was put in place by Congress last December.
More than 13,000 service members have
been discharged from the military for violating the policy enacted in
1993 during the Clinton administration.
In interviews Sunday with several
morning news shows, former President Bill Clinton kept mum about the
upcoming milestone. Clinton had pledged to end the military policy
that banned gay people from service, but instead he wound up with
“Don't Ask, Don't Tell” – which prescribes discharge for gay
service members who do not remain celibate or closeted.
Opponents of the law will gather on
Tuesday to celebrate the law's demise at over 100 planned events.
“The repeal of 'Don't Ask, Don't
Tell' is an historic milestone along the journey to achieving LGBT
equality in America's military, and Tuesday is a monumental day for
our service members and our nation,” said Aubrey Sarvis, executive
director of Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (SLDN). “Through
these events taking place in every state across the country, we will
pay tribute to their service and sacrifice as we look forward to this
new era of military service – an era that honors the contributions
of all qualified Americans who have served and wish to serve.”
In New York City, Speaker Christine C.
Quinn will headline a 7PM event at the historic Stonewall Inn. Also
attending will be Brenda “Sue” Fulton, executive director of
Knights Out, and Darren Manzella, a former Army Sergeant discharged
under the policy.
SLDN will host a K Street Lounge event
in Washington D.C. that begins at 6PM. Lt. Col. Victor Fehrenbach
and Major Mike Almy, who advocated for the law's repeal, will attend.
Former Pennsylvania Rep. Patrick Murphy
will headline a celebration in Philadelphia. Murphy, who spearheaded
last year's effort in the House, will speak at the invitation of
Equality Pennsylvania, the state's largest gay rights group, at Tabu
Lounge & Sports Bar. The free event begins at 5PM.
For other events, visit SLDN.org.