Panetta Honors LGBT Service Members

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta released a video message thanking lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered troops for their service. The message, which also honored LGBT family members for their “dedicated service to our country,” coincided with LGBT pride month. It was the first such message since the Obama Administration successfully pushed through a repeal of the Clinton-era Don’t Ask-Don’t Tell law banning homosexuals from openly serving in the military. “The pursuit of equality is fundamental to the American story. The successful repeal of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ proved to the nation that just like the country we defend, we share different backgrounds, different values, and different beliefs, but together we are the greatest military force in the world,” stated Panetta in his June 15 message. Panetta said he was “very proud” of the way the services implemented the repeal and said he would remain “committed to removing as many barriers as possible to make America’s military a model of equal opportunity.” (Panetta transcript) (AFPS report by Cheryl Pellerin)