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  WINDY CITY TIMES

Secretary of Defense comments on Pride
HRC, OutServe respond, video link included
2012-06-15

This article shared 1719 times since Fri Jun 15, 2012
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OutServe: Panetta Message 'Historic,' a 'Tribute to Military Values'

WASHINGTON, June 15 — Today OutServe, the association of actively-serving LGBT U.S. military personnel and one of the largest LGBT employee resource groups in the world, praised Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta's LGBT Pride message. The Secretary issued a video message to all Defense Department employees commemorating June as LGBT Pride Month, and recognizing gay and lesbian military members as well as LGBT civilian employees of the Pentagon.

"This historic video confirms the message that the military supports all service members and civilian employees, based on their merit," said Josh Seefried, Co-Director of OutServe. "This is a tribute to our core military values: respect and integrity. If there is any remaining doubt that the military has executed DADT repeal with excellence, and that LGBT people are serving our country with honor, Secretary Panetta has firmly put that to rest. This is leadership directly from the top."

Josh Seefried

Co-Director, OutServe

Human Rights Campaign: Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta Releases Historic Pride Video Message, 2012 LGBT Pride season is first in which service members can openly participate

Washington — The Human Rights Campaign is commending U.S. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta for releasing a historic video message to members of the military commemorating Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Pride Month, which takes place each June. This marks the first Pride season in which service members can openly participate. "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" was repealed in December 2010, and repeal was implemented last September.

"Secretary Panetta's Pride video is a tremendous indicator of the progress we've made for lesbian, gay, and bisexual service members," said HRC President Chad Griffin. "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. By embracing Pride month, Secretary Panetta also 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."

Open service has strengthened the state of our military. In addition to support from Secretary Panetta, the nation's top military leaders also back open service. The day after repeal was implemented last September, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen said: "... with implementation of the new law fully in place, we are a stronger joint force, a more tolerant joint force, a force of more character and more honor, more in keeping with our own values." Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta said at the time: "Thanks to this change, I believe we move closer to achieving the goal at the foundation of the values that America is all about: equality, equal opportunity and dignity for all Americans."

Click on the link to view Secretary Panetta's historic Pride message

www.pentagonchannel.mil/pcindex.aspx .

While Pride month provides a powerful opportunity to reflect on the change we've seen in the military in just the last eight months, there is more work to be done to ensure full equality in the military for all members of the LGBT community. The discriminatory Defense of Marriage Act still denies hundreds of critical benefits to same-sex military families; and officials must do more to address the obstacles that prevent transgender Americans from serving their country.


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