Gay-rights advocates celebrate repeal of 'don't ask, don't tell'

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Through a careful segregation of his military career and his personal life, Isaac Kelly managed to slip under the radar of “don’t ask, don’t tell.”

Isaac Kelly: Former soldier was honorably discharged for being gay and since has led local group Augusta Pride.  Special
Special
Isaac Kelly: Former soldier was honorably discharged for being gay and since has led local group Augusta Pride.

He was eventually outed by an e-mail about gay rights and confronted by a new captain in his unit. That led to an honorable discharge from the Army in 2003.

For thousands of other homosexual troops, that will no longer be an issue with Tuesday’s repeal of the 18-year-old policy, a compromise crafted in 1993 after President Clinton failed to lift a ban on gays serving in the military that had been enacted during World War II.

The policy’s repeal was signed by President Obama in December; it launched seven months of preparation by the military for the policy shift, including sensitivity training.

In an interview with American Forces Press Services, Army Maj. Gen. Gary S. Patton, the chief of staff for the Pentagon’s repeal implementation team, said the repeal “will strengthen the military.”

“It will continue to allow us to keep gay and lesbian service members in the military, and we will be a better military for it,” he stated.

Tuesday was 60 days after the date in July when the president certified to Congress that the armed forces were prepared to implement the repeal “in a manner that is consistent with the standards of military readiness, military effectiveness (and) unit cohesion ...”

Denny Meyer, the public affairs officer for American Veterans for Equal Rights, said the Pentagon made extensive preparation in advance of the change.

“They really want to make this happen right,” he said.

Meyer said Tuesday was not expected to be a watershed day, with thousands of troops coming clean about their sexual orientation.

He said that most of their colleagues already know and that most people are OK with it.

Kelly, a past president of Augusta Pride, which organizes an annual gay pride parade, said it was a struggle at times to balance conversations with other soldiers and not give away his sexual orientation, but he found ways around it.

“You can say ‘the old lady’ and still mean your partner. You just transfer the lingo,” he said with a laugh.

Kelly believes that the shift in the policy is a step forward for the next generation of homosexuals serving in the military.

“I’m just glad it’s done,” he said. “It was ridiculous from the beginning. Now we can focus on bigger issues.”

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wondersnevercease
9218
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wondersnevercease 09/20/11 - 11:55 pm
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.....Gays deserve to die just
Unpublished

.....Gays deserve to die just as well as straights.........sign them up!!!!...and let them tell all they want to. Who cares?... the taliban?...suicide bombers?.....

cityman
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cityman 09/21/11 - 08:30 am
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The Internet has made gay
Unpublished

The Internet has made gay people a non issue. Who cares...it is about the economy stupid..Although sexual orientation is a reason that may be used to cut out competition in the workforce because this is the way that the game works. The drive for rank and competition are the real reasons that gays have had a hard time in the military. The same has been true for gays who have sought public office.....especially in the bible belt. "'They" just want to keep the gay/black/women down. Inequality is a defining characteristic of our Meteoritical society. Love thy neighbor as thyself and competing with thy neighbor is a prominent feature of American Christian capitalism.

There is evidence that the Salem witch trials were used as a way to "accurie" property much like the way that North Carolina Cherokee Indians were discriminated against to get their land.

southern2
6153
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southern2 09/21/11 - 08:27 am
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It amazes me how much

It amazes me how much opposition this got in the Clinton era and now is barely a story. Where will the degradation of America end? I have no problem with homosexuals, I just get tired of the in your face demands and the continued effort to convince me that this is acceptable human behavior. Obama is a smooth operator... never take your eye off the hands.

cityman
-6
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cityman 09/21/11 - 08:32 am
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Southern2, Please realize
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Southern2, Please realize that the base of our being is economic. That is really what it is all about!

shrimp for breakfast
5456
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shrimp for breakfast 09/21/11 - 08:51 am
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Don't ask don't tell who?

Don't ask don't tell who?

Cassandra Harris
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Cassandra Harris 09/21/11 - 09:04 am
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southern2 - I fail to see

southern2 - I fail to see where wanting to live one's life without having to pretend all the time you are someone you are not, wanting to be able to have a life partner and not lose your job constitutes "in your face" demands.

If you think being gay is unacceptable then I have an easy fix for you - don't fall in love with another man - simple solution to your dilemma.

tmaugusta
0
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tmaugusta 09/21/11 - 10:21 am
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Our military is just a

Our military is just a reflection of our country's moral decay. So long as they are Fighting the enemy, have at it.

swinter05
5
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swinter05 09/21/11 - 10:52 am
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you are who GOD created you

you are who GOD created you to be, a woman created for man, or a man created for a woman. IT'S A CHOICE PEOPLE...IT'S A CHOICE. You CHOOSE to sleep with this man or that man, the same way you CHOOSE to sleep with the same sex. IT's WRONG no matter how hard anyone tries to make it sound like you're the victim. We are all victims of the devil, but some of us choose to seek the Savior that can conquer our battles for us. No one is cursed by God, you are blessed. All sinners (this includes homosexuals) need to seek Him and ask for forgiveness so they can overcome their bondage in SIN and begin to receive His blessings.

stillamazed
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stillamazed 09/21/11 - 11:17 am
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I am a very to each his own

I am a very to each his own type person, I could care less what others do in the privacy of thier own lives. But, I don't nessesarily agree that it will make the military stronger. Stronger in what sense? Numbers strong, moral strong? In what way strong? I work with the military and I can tell you that alot of males and females still feel uncomfortable with the idea of showering and sleeping in close quarters with gays. Do I personally think any of them would try to mess with a straight person? NO. But some may still feel uncomfortable. Another isssue is that the Military is supposed to be an organization that is looked up to, an organization that is here to protect and defend. How will that image change and how far will they let the gays go as far as how they dress and act. All of my gay friends are very professional and low key, but not all gays are. Will those who are not be allowed to walk around base dressed in drag? Will they be allowed to go all out or will there still be standards to follow and live up to while in uniform or on base? The training we have recieved has not touched on that aspect of any of this at all. Anyone can be taught tolerance classes but making tolerance happen is another thing all together.

curiousone
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curiousone 09/21/11 - 11:18 am
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I am a straight Christian

I am a straight Christian woman, and I believe we should treat all people well, pray for those who sin as well as asking for forgiveness of our own sins, and allow God to be the one who passes judgement. Regarding our military, I also believe that anyone who is willing to stand up for our country as a patriotic citizen should be allowed to serve without bias. It takes a courageous person to be willing to fight for our freedoms.

Jane18
12332
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Jane18 09/21/11 - 11:24 am
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"Sensitivity training". I

"Sensitivity training". I really hope our enemies have been given this too!!

Cassandra Harris
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Cassandra Harris 09/21/11 - 11:41 am
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I am "still amazed" that

I am "still amazed" that someone who claims to be serving in the military does not realize that he has been showering with quite a number of gays the entire time he's been in the service, they just couldn't identify themselves without losing their right to serve our country. I personally know a transvestite who just got out of service, you may have shared a room with him and not known it.

Seeing how you are so paranoid at possibly showering with a gay person, now that they can identify themselves you may work your hygiene around their showering schedule.

Ravenwing
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Ravenwing 09/21/11 - 12:22 pm
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As usual, while some of the

As usual, while some of the comments are at least fair.. others are so full of vitriol and self righteousness it sets my hair on fire. I am trying to figure out what has changed with this repeal of a moronic law to begin with? Gays have been serving in the military all over the world since we historically had militaries. Homosexuals served with Caesars armies , the Revolutionary war (both sides), the civil war (both sides) and all the wars in-between. They have been in the foxholes, ditches, on the beaches at Normandy, the dining halls, the restrooms, the funerals and the weddings of friends, commanders, and fellow soldiers for a thousand years. You have rubbed shoulders with them, laughed with them, cried with them, mended them, and most poignantly... buried them and they have done the same for you and the odds are, you never had a clue they were gay... And that means, you never really knew them, because being gay was part of them just as being "straight" is part of you. For those of you who find this new freedom for the Gays of America offensive, that is your business... it's a free country. Having said that, please don't presume to know Gods mind or his condemnation or his "punishment" for His gay children. I don't care what your religious convictions are - the spectacle of weeping parents walking behind flag draped casket, trying to get into a church to bury their fallen... being jeered at by a crowd of people, holding placards that would make Jesus weep -who are no more Christian than a pack of rabid wolves, is despicable. I don't think you will notice much difference in the world now that you have received what you may consider cataclysmic news... and as long as you nurse all the bible quotes written by men who were forming the basis for Christianity according to tribal laws in very backward countries (just as they are today) you risk the same fate for retribution that you wish on these folks. I am amazed that today - we Hate and despise all that is middle eastern , but we embrace the very same Koran/Judeo laws they invented over 2,000 years ago and we use that mentality against those whom we revile. The gay community is here to stay... you don't have to love them, but know they are NOT going away - they have always been with us... they always will be.. Thank what ever God you believe in.

rmwhitley
5547
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rmwhitley 09/21/11 - 01:06 pm
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I'm sexually active with
Unpublished

I'm sexually active with rocks. I demand my rights.

BevBoudreaux
0
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BevBoudreaux 09/21/11 - 01:21 pm
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Now what will Klinger do? I

Now what will Klinger do? I guess the drag shtick won't work anymore

Cadence
219
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Cadence 09/21/11 - 01:50 pm
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I have never understood why

I have never understood why this is an issue. Are you a good soldier or a bad one? Good person or bad? Good parent/teacher/doctor/etc? I don't care and don't want to know about people's personal lives. Ick! And that means gay or straight or crooked or whatever.

Brad Owens
4468
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Brad Owens 09/21/11 - 02:33 pm
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Ravenwing, You are a Pagan

Ravenwing,

You are a Pagan right?

Brad

MikeFMartin2001
0
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MikeFMartin2001 09/21/11 - 10:06 pm
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So many judgmental people on

So many judgmental people on here... must be a lot of Republicans and Southern Baptists reading the Chronicle. They're so darn good at passing judgment on others.

Ravenwing
2
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Ravenwing 10/01/11 - 12:32 am
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Hey Brad.. Would it make a

Hey Brad.. Would it make a difference if I was...? Why is everyone so interested in what religion folks are? My religion has nothing to do with my comments. I don't base my opinion on my religion... but it is amazing to me how many people do. I'm just a wicked, wytchy old lady... Please note, I didn't ask you what your religion is.

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