Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta Releases Video Commending LGBT Service Members

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Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta released a video that commemorates LGBT military members for putting their service to their country before themselves during the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy. The policy, that prevented members of the LGBT community from freely expressing their sexual orientation while they’re in the army, was repealed in December 2010 and implemented in September 2011. The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) praised this video that was released in light of Pride Month. “It sends a powerful message to the brave men and women of the military that they are valued for their dedication to our country and their expertise, and that they are deserving of the exact same respect and equal treatment that their straight counterparts receive.

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By embracing Pride month, Secretary Panetta is telling LGBT youth in communities across our nation that they live in a country that values them for exactly who they are. We hope this is a sign that the Department of Defense will continue tackling the obstacles that prevent lesbian, gay, and bisexual service members from receiving full equality,” says HRC President Chad Griffin. With world leaders such as Panetta giving the LGBT military members support, the HRC feels that they are making progress; however, there are many more obstacles to overcome before achieving complete equality for LGBT service members. For example, the process of enlisting is still challenging for transgender individuals and same-sex military families do not receive the same benefits as other families do.

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