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“In retrospect, because of the controversy it has created and because of the different interpretations that it could have had, yes, that probably — that would have been appropriate.”

GOP presidential candidate HERMAN CAIN, when asked on ABC News This Week if he should have defended a gay soldier who was booed by the conservative crowd at the last Republican presidential debate.

Yes, Herman.  You should’ve spoken up for him “because of the controversy” and not because he’s a human being who is putting his life on the line for you in Afghanistan.


(via the New York Daily News)

“Tonight, Rick Santorum disrespected our brave men and women in uniform … That brave gay soldier is doing something Rick Santorum has never done - put his life on the line to defend our freedoms and our way of life. It is telling that Rick Santorum is so blinded by his anti-gay bigotry that he couldn’t even bring himself to thank that gay soldier for his service.”

Statement from conservative group GOPROUD, responding to Republican candidate Rick Santorum’s call for the military’s Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy be reinstated.

Santorum and the other candidates were replying to a question from Stephen Hill, a gay soldier serving in Iraq, who had asked if they would reverse the repeal of DADT if they became president.

There is no limit to their penchant for disrespect.

(via the New York Daily News)

We’ve noticed a trend.


At the Reagan Library debate in California, attendees memorably broke into a spontaneous round of applause in support of Rick Perry’s record on the death penalty. At last week’s debate in Tampa, a handful of audience members cheered the prospect of a man without health insurance being left to die. And on Thursday in Orlando, a chorus of boos erupted when a gay Army veteran asked former Sen. Rick Santorum if he should still be allowed to serve the country in Iraq.

Seriously, what’s up with the crowds at these GOP presidential debates?

Master Sgt. Anthony Henry, a top Marine recruiting trainer for the southwestern United States, pulled up to Tulsa’s biggest gay community center on Tuesday morning and left his Chevy where he could make a fast getaway. “I have an exit strategy,” he said. “I know where my choke points are, I’ve strategically parked my car right on the curbside, I have an out.”

But as it happened, one of the strangest days in the history of the United States Marine Corps unfolded without the protests and insults that Sergeant Henry had feared. Sergeant Henry, who had been invited to set up a recruiting booth on the first day of the end of “don’t ask, don’t tell” at the Dennis R. Neill Equality Center in downtown Tulsa, instead spent it in quiet conversation with a trickle of gay women who came in to ask about joining the Marines.

“It’s your business and you don’t have to share it,” Sergeant Henry told Ariel Pratt, 20, who asked whether she would face discrimination in the military as a lesbian serving openly. “But you’re also free to be at the mall with your girlfriend.”

Ms. Pratt, 20, asked Sergeant Henry what he liked about the Marines.

“It’s like a little family,” he said. “We get mad at each other, we joke with each other, but we don’t let anybody else make fun of us.”

“That’s pretty cool,” she said.

The New York Times, “Marines Hit the Ground Running In Seeking Recruits at Gay Center”

Now it can be told: A prominent gay rights advocate who called himself J. D. Smith is in fact 1st Lt. Josh Seefried, a 25-year-old active-duty Air Force officer. At 12:01 a.m. Tuesday, he dropped the pseudonym, freed from keeping his sexual orientation secret like an estimated tens of thousands of others in the United States military.

“I always had the feeling that I was lying to them and that I couldn’t be part of the military family,” said Lieutenant Seefried, who helped found an undercover group of 4,000 gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender active-duty service members. “I feel like I can get to know my people again. When I go to a Christmas party, I can actually bring the person I’m in a relationship with. And that’s a huge relief.”

The 18-year-old “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy officially ended at midnight and with it the discharges that removed more than 13,000 men and women from the military under the old ban on openly gay troops. To mark the historic change, gay rights groups are planning celebrations across the country while Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta and Adm. Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, will usher in the new era at a Pentagon news conference.

The other side will be heard, too: Elaine Donnelly, a longtime opponent of allowing gay men and lesbians to serve openly in the armed forces, has already said that “as of Tuesday the commander in chief will own the San Francisco military he has created.” Two top Republicans on the House Armed Services Committee — the chairman, Representative Howard P. McKeon of California, and Representative Joe Wilson of South Carolina — have asked the Pentagon to delay the new policy, saying commanders in the field are not ready. But the Pentagon has moved on.

No one knows how many gay members of the military will come out on Tuesday, although neither gay rights advocates nor Pentagon officials are expecting big numbers, at least not initially.

The New York Times, “Out And Proud to Serve.”

“Our troops come from every corner of this country. They’re black, white, Latino, Asian, Native American. They are Christian and Hindu; Jewish and Muslim. And yes, we know that some of them are gay. Starting this year, no one will be forbidden from serving the country the country they love because of who they love.”

PRESIDENT OBAMA, on the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.

John Boehner didn’t applaud here.

“I am just overwhelmed. This is a very good day.

No longer will our country be denied the service of thousands of patriotic Americans who were forced to leave the military, regardless of their skills, no matter their bravery or their zeal, no matter their years of exemplary performance, because they happen to be gay. No longer will tens of thousands of Americans in uniform be asked to live a lie.

…There will never be a full accounting of the heroism demonstrated by gay Americans in service to this country. As the first generation to serve openly in our armed services, you will stand for all those who came before you, and you will serve as role models for all those who will come after you.”

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA, in remarks delivered to U.S. servicemembers and others before he signed the repeal of Don’t Act, Don’t Tell into law.  He warned that while the repeal will not go into effect immediately, he has directed military leadership to implement it as soon as possible, adding “We will not drag our feet” on the new law.

And, by the way?  Folks in attendance resurrected an oldie but goodie, chanting, among other things, “Yes We Can!!!”

Yes, we sure can.

(via Talking Points Memo)

VICTORY, SWEET   Senator Kirsten Gillibrand of New York shares a moment with Majority  Leader Harry Reid at a press conference after the Senate advanced the  repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” on Capitol Hill.  (Photo: Drew Angerer / The New York Times)

VICTORY, SWEET   Senator Kirsten Gillibrand of New York shares a moment with Majority Leader Harry Reid at a press conference after the Senate advanced the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” on Capitol Hill.  (Photo: Drew Angerer / The New York Times)

The U.S. Senate has repealed Don't Ask, Don't Tell, 65 to 31; bill on its way to President Obama for his signature. »

Remember how he kept insisting that Congress, not the courts, repeal this shameful law?

Looks like he knew what he was doing after all.

By a vote of 65 to 31, with eight Republicans joining Democrats, the Senate approved and sent to President Obama a repeal of the Clinton-era law, known as “don’t ask, don’t tell,” a policy critics said amounted to government-sanctioned discrimination that treated gay and lesbian troops as second-class citizens.

Mr. Obama hailed the action, which fulfills his pledge to reverse the ban. “As commander in chief, I am also absolutely convinced that making this change will only underscore the professionalism of our troops as the best led and best trained fighting force the world has ever known,” Mr. Obama said in a statement after the Senate, on a 63-33 vote, beat back Republican efforts to block a final vote on the repeal bill.

The vote marked a historic moment that some equated with the end of racial segregation in the military. It followed a review by the Pentagon that found little concern in the military about lifting the ban and was backed by Pentagon officials as a better alternative to a court-ordered end.

Supporters of the repeal said it was long past time to end what they saw as an ill-advised practice that cost valuable personnel and forced troops to lie to serve their country.

“We righted a wrong,” said Senator Joseph I. Lieberman, the independent from Connecticut who led the effort to end the ban. “Today we’ve done justice.”