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Biden, administration officials recognize 10th anniversary of “Don’t ask, don’t tell” repeal


(WHNT) – President Joe Biden and other administration officials celebrated the tenth anniversary of the repeal of the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy, which barred gays and lesbians from open service on Monday in the army.

“Ten years ago today, a great injustice was righted and an enormous weight was finally lifted from the shoulders of tens of thousands of dedicated US servicemen,” President Biden said in a statement. “The repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell… has helped bring our nation closer to its fundamental promise of equality, dignity and opportunity for all. “

“On this day and every day, I am grateful to all of the LGBTQ + military and veterans who strengthen our military and our nation,” Biden continued.

Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, the first openly gay member of the U.S. Cabinet and a veteran who joined the military under Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, also spoke about the anniversary of the repeal.

“Ten years after the end of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, I reflect on the courage of the LGBTQ + soldiers who have answered the call, both before and since it became possible to serve openly, as well as those who fought to ensure everyone could wear the uniform in their entirety, ”Buttigieg said via Facebook.

The policy, which lasted for 18 years in the United States, excluded and fired military personnel because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. It was repealed by President Obama in 2010, but did not come into effect until September 20, 2011.

The law was originally enacted by then-President Bill Clinton in 1993 as a compromise for promising to completely lift the ban on gays and lesbians from serving in the military.

“Today’s 10th anniversary of the repeal of ‘Don’t ask, don’t tell’ reminds us that when we strive to increase inclusiveness, we help strengthen our country’s defenses,” the secretary said. American Defense Lloyd Austin.

“I am committed to improving diversity, equity and inclusion across the force,” Austin concluded. “It makes us more representative of the nation we are defending. It makes us wiser. And, without a doubt, it makes us stronger. On behalf of the entire department, I thank our LGBTQ + military – and your families – for the service you provide every day. “

According to a 2016 report by The Associated Press, 13,000 people were ousted from the U.S. military while Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell was in place.