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Gay-rights groups react to President Obama's State of the Union address regarding 'don't ask, don't tell'

From President Obama's State of the Union Address:

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 American will be forbidden from serving the country they love because of who they love.  (Applause.)  And with that change, I call on all our college campuses to open their doors to our military recruiters and ROTC.  It is time to leave behind the divisive battles of the past.  It is time to move forward as one nation.  (Applause.)

Here's reaction from several leading gay-rights groups:

“Servicemembers Legal Defense Network is pleased the President expects that gays and lesbians will be able to serve their country openly this year. In fact, we think there should be certification from the President, Secretary Robert Gates and JCS Chairman Michael Mullen in this quarter.  We need to make ‘Don't Ask’ repeal a reality sooner rather than later. It is also encouraging to see that the President and First Lady recognize that LGBT troops are very much part of the fabric of our military families. However, we need to bring more visibility and awareness to that reality too,” said Aubrey Sarvis, Army veteran and executive director for Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (SLDN).

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WASHINGTON – Today the Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender civil rights organization, reacted to the President’s State of the Union address in which he announced that open service by gays, lesbians and bisexuals in the U.S. Armed Forces would begin this year.  HRC President Joe Solmonese issued the following statement:

“Very soon, what will matter in the U.S. military is how you do your job, not your sexual orientation.  Last year the President committed to working with Congress to repeal the ban on open service by gay, lesbian and bisexual people and tonight’s announcement is welcome news for all Americans ready to close the book on discrimination in the ranks.  Not only does repeal mean troops will be treated with the dignity and respect they deserve, but our nation will be stronger with the best and brightest able to serve in uniform.  Tonight is the culmination of a promise kept by this President.

“The issue most prevalent in tonight’s speech was jobs and with discrimination in the military soon behind us, there remain a number of pressing issues for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community when it comes to economic security.  The President and Congress can do much more to ensure the economic empowerment of LGBT people including ending the unfair taxation of partner health benefits, prohibiting workplace discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity, and ensuring that all married couples have access to the same federal benefits and protections for their families.  We look forward to working with this President and allies in Congress on the challenges ahead.”

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"If the president is truly serious about job creation and boosting America's economic well-being, he must provide leadership and action in helping to pass employment protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people and ending the costly and unjust federal marriage ban."
— Rea Carey, Executive Director, National Gay and Lesbian Task Force

WASHINGTON, Jan. 25 — The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force responded to President Obama's State of the Union speech tonight.

Statement by Rea Carey, Executive Director
National Gay and Lesbian Task Force

"President Obama spoke pointedly tonight of the dire need to get our economy moving again. We couldn't agree more and urge his administration and Congress to work together to ensure that everybody — including lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people — have the opportunity to contribute their talents, skills and expertise to this nation’s workforce. The repeal of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,’ which the president noted tonight, was a tremendous victory that will put an end to systemic discrimination against competent, qualified lesbian, gay and bisexual service members. But let us not settle there. Fact is, the state of the union for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people remains largely one of inequality, as we can still be fired from or denied employment in many parts of the country for nothing other than bias, and marriage inequality relegates our families to second-class status. If the president is truly serious about job creation and boosting America's economic well-being, he must provide leadership and action in helping to pass employment protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people and ending the costly and unjust federal marriage ban. Our country can and must do better. The president should pave the way."

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Obama is awesome & everyone gave him a standing ovation for his reference to the repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" except the men in military uniforms, because they are worried some one will tell about them not exactly being "straight" when their wives aren't around! That's the only group it protected, were homophobic hypocrites!

If the Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy is repealed it will cause alot of problems inthe military community. The entire aspect has to be looked at. Will they be able to live in barracks or get government housing in family neighborhoods? Now that will affend others and how they raise their children. What will I tell my son who see two men kissing in the back yard or near the play ground. Gays want to be respected and want their beliefs to be respected and protected....so do I. Never mind what the bible says about being with the same sex or what my religious beliefs are. Just affend those who are not gaay. They have rights also. Respect goes both ways. The military will suffer because many will get out when they allow gays in because they have to work and live in close quarters too often. It opens the doors for a host of problems that the military is not prepared for.

Maya, it is spelled "offend" with an "o," not an "a." I hope you teach your children to spell before you teach them to hate. Thanks.

@Maya A straight man and woman shouldn't be getting physical while serving too. They would still be expected to be disciplined and professional. It sounds like you think respect should go one way. They don't complain if you kiss a guy. Personally I think the only people that will leave the military are fundamentalist christians that think they are fighting a holy war. It would be better for the country to remove *those* people from service. Of course they can speak their mind. I hear it all the time on the plane when the military sends more people home. All about fighting for god and I thought we are fighting for our country...

I think that rushing in is not the answer a lot of people need to think before the say anyting on both sides.

Thank you Maya,
It seems to be "hate" when you don't agree that homosexuality is normal and acceptable. Confusion is infective. Families are being attacked on all sides, pushing homosexuality is just one more tool to reach that end.
Now, I don't want the gay community to get me wrong. I don't believe in any sexual activity out of marriage and that is what I will teach my children, so I'm not worried about them knowing what is right and wrong. But, I definitely agree with Maya that you have your beliefs and we have ours and we need fight for our kids happiness and well being.

@jordobaggins - Agreed. We all need to fight for our kids' happiness and well begin. One of my kids, my thirteen-year-old, is gay. You'd better believe that I'll be fighting for his.

Maya.... so let me get this 'straight':
You don't mind teaching your son that it's ok for him to join the military and kill another man, but kissing or LOVING another man is out of the question for him?? What type of mother are you? I'm afraid for my son to meet yours.

Maybe you can teach your son that it was our military that defeated an evil dictator in WW11 who had gay people put into concentration camps and fought to liberate them.
Maybe you can teach your son that George Washington enlisted a gay man named Friedrich Wilhelm von Steuben to train this nations 1st Army and was directly responsible for there even being a U.S.A.
Or maybe you can teach your son that this entire thing we call a Democracy was invented by a gay Greek man, Cleisthenes in 508 BCE.
Maybe you can teach your son that he too can love anyone regardless of the prejudice that exists in this world and give him the chance to overcome the moral ignorance, that you so far in your life have been unable to.
But most importantly, maybe you can teach YOURSELF how to be a better parent than the one who so obviously failed at raising you to be tolerant and accepting of others that are different.
TOLERATING INTOLERANCE IS NOT TOLERANT.

People who say they're against homosexuality because of their kids are truly ignorant individuals. No offense to anyone will children; I know we all want what's best for our youth, but all kids grow up. They will be exposed to these real life situations sooner or later.

To think negatively of homosexuality is a sign of your own sexual inadequacy, religious beliefs and/or vapid, unjust ignorance. It's this backwards thinking that is the true blight on society, not the love between two individuals of the same gender.

Homosexuality exists, and it will never go away. So why try to ignore it?

Is not nature even speak against this act ,like charges will repel and unlike charges will attract,i now believe that great Babylon is about to fall,do know the punitive measure of this,do you remember what happen some time to Sodom,God is warning you guys that are involve in this act to repent and follow his path ,or your punishment is right ahead of you.

your acts is in no way helpful for the future Generation ,i can foresee that if that in the near future the earth will be full with tear butt male,or the world will be divided into the women one side and the one side eating each other ,please think about this,people there is still room on the cross for YOU

Deviant lifestyle. The USA will be judged if your usurper of a pres goes ahead with this

I love the image of gay men making out just beyond the schoolyard, and hanging out in parks groping and scrogging...

You all do know that we can already buy homes in "family" neighborhoods, right? I live with my partner in the 'burb's, there is a park about 2 homes down and a elementary school about 1/2 a block away in the other direction.

We sit on the porch togeher, and have kissed while not indoors... The neighbor kids mow our lawn and one even came over to help me plant roses...

And why is it that people think a gay man joining the army would have really ANYTHING to do with wanting to sleep with soldiers? You think there is no better way to get a look at another man's wee wee than to put your life on the line and join the military? Maybe - just MAYBE - there are better ways to find a sexual partner than joining the military - and maybe JUST MAYBE - there are gay men and women who only want to serve our country with honor...

Gays are in the military - they are also in your neighborhoods. You protect nothing by the repeal, you keep all risk by stating people must serve in secret.

I pray for the day when we can all look back on this bigotry from fundamentalist religionists of all religions and hope that the one God that looks out over all of His children, human and otherwise, plant and animal, will forgive them the for the sins of thinking that they speak in HIS name.

Deviant life style westerncanuck65? You should not be talking. Deviance is decided by the society if Homosexuality is accepted it is no longer deviant lifestyle instead it will be an accepted one. The ones that are truly deviant as you state it is the ones who are unable to accept others that are different than they are. Also it is not about god or anything it is about the pursuit of happiness that all Americans should have regardless of sexual orientation.
If you believe that I am wrong let me ask you this: If people love each other deeply and are happy together is it right for people to decide that they cannot be together due to gender? Is it right to tell certain people that they should hide who they truly are just because society states that they are not acceptable? Is it truly justice that fuels the thought or is it just unjust hatred of those who are different?

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