You gotta watch it all, it’s worth it. I had the exact opposite reaction with my parents. My mom was cool and my dad was shocked and had tons of questions, but eventually came around. Hopefully for Randy his mom will come around as well.
The Pentagon says that military chaplains may now conduct same-sex weddings on base or anywhere else.
The ruling announced Friday by the Pentagon’s personnel chief follows the Sept. 20 repeal of a law that had prohibited gays and lesbians from serving openly in the military. Some members of Congress have objected to military chaplains performing same-sex unions, saying it would violate the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act. The Pentagon says a military chaplain may officiate at any private ceremony, but isn’t required if it would conflict with his or her religious or personal beliefs. The Pentagon also says Defense Department property may be used for private functions, including religious and other ceremonies such as same-sex unions, as long as it’s not prohibited by state or local laws.
More than two years after former infantry officer Daniel Choi came out on a talk show as a gay service member – an event that led to his discharge - the Iraq war veteran says he will re-enlist in the U.S. Army following Tuesday’s repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. “Going back to the military will be a vindication,” Choi told POLITICO. [I’m] going back because I fought to go back. The seriousness of our claims was not just political theatre – it was really drawn from our lives. I sacrificed so much so I could go back.” [snip] Choi said that he had been unsure about whether he should reenlist but eventually concluded that it was important to show the seriousness of his actions. “Joining the military is never supposed to be a comfortable thing,” Choi said.
Not discussed in the above-linked Politico article is whether Choi’s arrests will impede his return to active duty.
Michelle Obama Welcomes Gay Families To National Military Initiative
The Advocate reports:
First Lady Michelle Obama “looks forward to including” openly gay service members in her national military families initiative with the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy set to expire in less than 24 hours.
The campaign, Joining Forces, is a multi-prong national program launched in April by the First Lady and Dr. Jill Biden to support military families through public service outreach and partnerships with some of the nation’s largest corporations, among other efforts.
“The First Lady and Dr. Biden will continue to recognize and honor the families of all service members, as they have been doing since the beginning of Joining Forces,” Kristina Schake, Mrs. Obama’s communications director, said in a statement to The Advocate.
“After the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell takes effect, Mrs. Obama and Dr. Biden look forward to including openly gay and lesbian service members in events to recognize their service to the nation, as well as the service of their families,” Schake said.
The statement is similar to one made just prior to the White House launch event for Joining Forces in April. At that time, the White House had cited that DADT remained in effect and precluded participation by gay service members or their representative advocacy groups at the East Room unveiling of the initiative.
That decision drew criticism from some gay service member advocacy groups who said that inclusion would have been a symbolic opportunity to recognize families of gay troops — families who likely would not have been able to participate in on-base Joining Forces events prior to DADT repeal. “At the moment, I can’t even buy a stamp on base,” one partner of a gay service member said in April. “That’s pretty sad. Our primary interest is just being treated the same as other military families. We’re not looking for anything novel beyond that.”
As well as a general awareness campaign focused on the challenges that military families face, Joining Forces works with private employers such as Wal-Mart to secure military spouse job transfers resulting from new duty assignments. It also promotes greater inclusion of military families in entertainment programming via partnerships with Hollywood guilds including the Writers Guild of America and Directors Guild of America.
“[T]he truth is that as a country, we don’t always see their families, our heroes on the home front,” Mrs. Obama said at the April launch event. “These families have appealed to us, like a military mom who wrote to me and said, ‘Please don’t let Americans forget or ignore what we live with.’”
In January, the administration called on government agencies to better address issues in employment, housing, and education affecting the nation’s 2.2 million service members and their families.
In November noted DADT activist Dan Choi was arrested with a dozen others after failing to comply with a police order to unshackle themselves from the White House fence. All of those arrested accepted a plea bargain agreement with sentences of six months probation. But not Choi, whose trial on the charge began this week. Yesterday the trial’s judgesuspended the proceedings after the federal government was accused of malicious prosecution. According to his lawyer, Choi was arrested because of the subject of his protest, not his actions.
Magistrate Judge John M. Facciola said the testimony presented at trial suggested that “the nature of his speech or what he said,” meant Choi was prosecuted differently, according to a transcript of the proceedings. As a result of Facciola’s statements, an attorney for the government, Angela George, said she planned to have the judge’s actions reviewed by higher authorities, and Facciola put the trial on hold for 10 days. In papers filed with the court, George says Choi was treated no differently than other similar protesters. One of Choi’s attorneys, Robert Feldman, said he believed that the judge’s comments Wednesday mean his client has “effectively won the case” and that the charges against him will ultimately be dismissed.
According to one report, the decision to arrest Choi was made before the protest even began. He’s gonna win this thing.
The publishers of Outserve Magazine have received permission to distribute the gay-oriented title on Army and Air Force bases beginning next month.
OutServe Magazine will hit store shelves at Army and Air Force bases on Sept. 20, the day the Pentagon plans to formally end enforcement of the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy that bans gays from serving openly. The publication is published by OutServe, a group of secretly gay active duty service members that says it has hundreds of members currently serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. The magazine, which began publishing in the spring, is currently available in limited supply at some public meeting areas and military physicians offices, the group said.
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