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Image by: Uptown Studios Friday, members of the newly elected Board of Directors of Equality Action NOW announced their elation about the signing of the certification by President Obama that all branches of the U.S. Military are fully ready for the end of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell and the long-standing policy of kicking perfectly good solders out of service just because of their sexual orientation.
Ken Pierce, Chairman of the Board of Directors sent this statement on behalf of Equality Action NOW. “Our organization has always led the way in speaking out about civil rights and the fair treatment of all. With the signing of this very important certificate LGBT people can now lift their heads high and be even more proud of serving our country. We know gays and lesbians have always served and died to keep us free and it is past time that they can do so without lying about themselves and who they love. In 60 days this country will be just a little closer to what our founding fathers intended us to become.”
“As a US Navy veteran and from a military family I can truly say that I am proud of President Obama's decision to sign to end the military ban on its members who may not be heterosexual. Vihil Heather Vigil, Vice-Chairperson went on the say, “I experienced the loss of too many friends and colleagues in the military, not from losing their lives on the battle field, but from losing their respect as a member of the military based on sexual orientation discrimination and receiving a dishonorable discharge. I wonder now will those individuals receive their honor?”
Board member Enrique E. Manjarrez exclaimed, “Today we have taken another step closer to full equality. As someone who knows personally the unfairness that DADT inflicted on the people who served our country bravely, I am glad to see that it has finally come to an end. I commend the pentagon, President Obama, and the men and women of the US Military for their embrace of social change, and the evolution of our backward policies. This is also an embodiment of the freedoms that the US military fight for on a daily basis to ensure justice and liberty for all people.”
Emily Bender, EAN Treasurer said, “We begin a 60-day countdown toward achieving equality in the treatment of our soldiers...those who have defended our country for decades. It is now our turn to stand up and defend them.”
As a mental health professional, Nicola Simmerbach said, “A big wrong in American history has been righted. LGBT service members can let us look them in the eye and say ‘thank you for your service to our country’. There are not "LGBT" or "straight" soldiers anymore; there are just Equal soldiers. We can't forget their spouses, however, who still need to receive the full equality all service spouses deserve.”
Concerning the recent signing of the FAIR Education Act, author of “In Celebration of Harvey Milk”, teacher and Equality Action NOW board member, Angela F. Luna wrote, “The burial of DADT has been long overdue. This heinous sort of discrimination toward LGBT military members who unselfishly serve our country is history. Thankfully, we will be able to teach that part of American history to students in public schools in order to ensure it never happens again."
Equality Action NOW Youth Spokesperson and member of the board, Benancio Garza (20) said, “Having a policy that dishonorably discharges gay men and lesbian women is just as bad as slavery, and the ‘old unequal’ women's rights. It also went against the First Amendment, of freedom of speech, and expression. I know there will be more youth who will consider military service now that they can serve openly.”
Tina Reynolds, co-founder and Executive Director of EAN wrote, "The long awaited repeal of antiquated thinking - thank you for doing the right thing, President Obama!"
For more information about Equality Action NOW, visit their website at: http://www.EqualityActionNOW.org.