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Gay Pentagon Secretary Bet Money DADT Would Be Repealed 

Gay Pentagon Secretary Bet Money DADT Would Be Repealed 

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lucasgrindley

The Pentagon's first openly gay assistant secretary was so sure last year that "don't ask, don't tell" would be repealed that he put a bet on it.

Douglas Wilson, the Defense Department's assistant secretary for public affairs, told the Washington Blade his foresight won him "enough for a round of drinks for a few people."

"I really thought that this was going to happen," Wilson said in the interview. "I thought too many people could not look themselves in the face" and know "they were the ones to be the anachronism."

Wilson talks about the moment he knew the issue had reached a tipping point. It came during an "outreach session" at Fort Hood conducted as part of research on repeal's effects.

"We went to see a tank at a tank crew. The purpose of it was to show how close quarters were in a tank and how difficult it would be for gay and straight troops to serve together," Wilson recalled. "So, we saw the tank, and at the end, the tank crew lined up in front of the tank, and people said to us, 'Do you have any questions?' And I said, 'You all have served together several years.' And they said, 'Yes, we've been together a long time.' I said, 'What happens if 'don't ask, don't tell' is repealed and one of you told the other four that he was gay? What would you do?

"And person by person -- the first person said, 'Well, my brother's gay, so it doesn't matter.' The second person said, 'Well, you know, I have so many friends who are gay from high school. It doesn't matter.' To each person, it didn't matter. And the final person said, 'What matters to me is if this thing is burning, I want someone to be able to pull me out, and I don't care what their [sexual] orientation is.' That's when I knew."

Read the complete interview.

lucasgrindley
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Lucas Grindley

Lucas Grindley is VP and Editorial Director for Here Media, which is parent company to The Advocate. His Twitter account is filled with politics, Philip Glass appreciation, and adorable photos of his twin toddler daughters.
Lucas Grindley is VP and Editorial Director for Here Media, which is parent company to The Advocate. His Twitter account is filled with politics, Philip Glass appreciation, and adorable photos of his twin toddler daughters.