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Don't Ask, Don't Tell Repeal Ceberated with March and Rally

West Hollywood observed the official end of the military ban on gays serving openly in the military with a rally in West Hollywood Park and a march down Santa Monica Blvd.

Residents took to the streets Tuesday night to celebrate the official end of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.

In a march from West Hollywood Park down the sidewalk along Santa Monica Blvd. to the Sal Guarriello Veterans’ Memorial fountain at Holloway, about 100 people cheered and chanted as they waved rainbow flags and carried homemade signs. Cars driving by honked to signal their support.

“Happy Repeal Day,” yelled some of the marchers, jubilant at the official repeal of the U.S. government’s 18-year-old controversial ban on gay, lesbian and bisexuals openly serving in the military.

David Woolery, who served in the Air Force during the first Gulf War, made a special trip from Whittier to attend, saying he felt it was important to mark the occasion and the West Hollywood celebration was the only one he could find.

Woolery told Weho Patch the entire time he was in the Air Force, he lived in fear that any squeak he made would get him kicked out.

Rally

At a rally in the park beforehand, Mayor Pro Tempore Jeff Prang told the crowd gathered, “This is a great day for West Hollywood, this is a great day for our nation.”

“[Former President Bill Clinton] disappointed a lot of us when he agreed to Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, which was not a remarkable improvement over what we had been enduring for decades before that,” Prang said. “After a lot of work hard work by a lot of people, by people both in uniform and out of uniform, we are here today, September 20, 2011, the end of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”

“The government has finally thrown open wide the doors to the biggest closet that has ever been ever created,” said Peter Renn of Lambda Legal, an LGBT legal organization fighting discrimination. “I am very glad to be able to talk about Don’t Ask Don’t Tell in the past tense.”

Councilmember Abbe Land gave a special shout out to “all the men and women who had to courage and the desire to serve this country when they couldn’t actually be who they wanted to be while they were doing it.”

Tipping point

Tom Carpenter of the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network called the end of DADT a tipping point for the gay community. He said it was about the three “M”s – Marriage, Military and Ministry. With the collapse of the military leg of the “3M stool,” Carpenter predicted the other two legs would soon follow.

However, Carpenter did offer a note of caution. “What’s happened here is we have returned to where we were in 1993,” Carpenter said explaining the end of DADT merely transferred oversight of gays in the military from the Congress back to the Pentagon.

“They are giving us the right to serve,” Carpenter said. “But that can change. It’s not going to take another change in the law. We get a new administration in here . . . all they have to do is direct the Secretary of Defense to put the ban in place that existed before for a return to Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. So our work is ahead of us. We must be vigilant.”

More than 14,000 service men and women lost their military careers under DADT. Another 70,000 LGBT military personnel are estimated to have served in fear of being caught under the DADT law.

 

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cali September 21, 2011 at 10:33 PM
Personally I'm heterosexual, and it is ignorant and homophobic 2 say ppl don't go 2 prison b/c its mostly gay population. I would hope ppl stay out of prison b/c its not a place of choice. Its also selfish 2 say the gay men and women who have already lost their lives 4 dis country are less than the straight heros. Whomeva is willing 2 defend us and get the job done, that's all I care about. Our constitution says we have the right to choose sexual partners, marriage, and all the equal rights heterosexuals. It is not our right 2 judge if the tables were turned and hetersexuals were minority, would you want your rights hindered based on your sexual preface
Join Diaspora September 22, 2011 at 10:20 AM
Thank you for this post. FYI http://Out­­Military.­c­om has been providing a supportive environmen­­t for friending, sharing and networking between Gay active military, vets and supporters since December, 2010.
cali September 22, 2011 at 10:58 AM
Chked out the sight awaiting approval. No thank u warranted right is right. It ignorance that is bred that stalls change
cali September 22, 2011 at 10:59 AM
Site* sry
Paul September 22, 2011 at 05:32 PM
It's interesting that all these protestors who are mostly gay men have NEVER done a dang thing in terms of military service. They just protest because they can. It's a good time for them!
cali September 22, 2011 at 06:39 PM
Well an injustice anywhere is like a contaigous disease that can spread everywhere. I have a friend who serves this country whom is gay and up until this point lived in fear of losing everything due to exposure ...he has done two tours risking his life yet he can't love, marry, or even get life or health coverage for his significant other. The issue of serving is not the problem, equal rights is. It is my belief that once new polices are placed more homosexuals not just gay men, but women as well will join. How hypocritical to expect a person to fight for a country that doesn't acknowledge equal rights, when our constitution clearly states each human being is entitled to certain rights and liberties. It doesn't state you only have freedom of choice except if your gay. This is why we should amend the constitution so the supremcy clause will over rule each states constitution. Right now its an issue left on the state, when it should b a national issue
jimmy palmieri September 22, 2011 at 08:22 PM
@STEIN..........i AM ASSUMING YOU WERE ALLOWED INTERNET PRIVILEDGES FROM THE SANITARIUM THAT YOU SURELY MUST BE HOUSED IN.
Paul September 22, 2011 at 08:55 PM
To many drugs Jimmy. You can't help feeling the way you do. Your delusional.
jimmy palmieri September 22, 2011 at 09:19 PM
@STEIN........ONCE AGAIN, YOU ARE PROVING TO BE MISINFORMED. I HAVE NEVER DONE DRUGS. I DO HOWEVER TRY TO HELP THOSE WITH THE DISEASE OF ADDICTION.....NOW IF I COULD ONLY LOCATE A SOLUTION FOR THE DISEASE OF JUDGEMENT AND STUPIDITY I'D TRY TO ASSIST YOU TOO. .......WITH LOVE AND TOLERANCE OF COURSE.
cali September 22, 2011 at 11:19 PM
Lol @ jimmy, my point percisely ppl tend to judge someone else and often don't consider themselves but I'm glad someone agrees with me
Paul September 23, 2011 at 09:11 AM
Ah, poor souls.
cali September 23, 2011 at 03:28 PM
Wow its a shame some ppl can't have a sophisticated conversation w/o ignorance...once again judgement is being passed, what makes you think your soul is better off than anyone elses...funny how ppl are so sure of the actions they take and words they use is always right. I'm firm believer in the bible and a higher power. But the biblei read and the god I serve says love your brother no matter what and never judge as that's not your job or place. But at least I kno where I stand with HIM, do you? Since your comment wasn't directed towards anyone I'll just disregard it. My father knows my heart, just sayin

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