Reflecting on the Ceremony
Exuberant. That’s the only adjective to describe the mood of Wednesday’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” repeal bill signing ceremony with President Barack Obama at the Department of Interior in Washington, D.C. (the invite list dwarfed East Room capacity at the White House, thus the alternative location). With nearly 18 years of a discriminatory and insidious policy now off the books — and headed into the all-important period of Pentagon repeal implementation — we asked ceremony attendees of note what December 22, 2010, ultimately means for them.
"I had no doubt that this day would happen. And as far as all the naysayers go, we just took them down and out-worked them. I used to jump out of airplanes for a living, so I was always confident that my chute was going to open up. Paratroopers don’t quit." —Pennsylvania representative Patrick Murphy, who sponsored repeal legislation in the House of Representatives
“I think of all the young men and women that we helped who called crying and needing a lifeline. and, to me, this means America has responded. America’s the lifeline now. This is a victory not just for those who are serving in the military but for the entire country. I don’t think that any state government, local government, business, can discriminate now. If the military can do this, anybody can do this." —Dixon Osburn (in background), who cofounded the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, reflecting on many of the clients the organization had helped over the years
"To play a part in the case which has helped shape history was certainly worth the effort. And we're delighted. But our lawsuit continues: Repeal won't be effective until a certain time, and unless the government agrees not to discharge any more service members, our lawsuit is alive and kicking." —Dan Woods, lead attorney in the Log Cabin Republicans' challenge to DADT in federal court. Following the July trial, U.S. district judge Virginia Phillips struck down "don't ask, don't tell" as unconstitutional.