The Pentagon is planning its first-ever event to honor gay soldiers during LGBT pride month, less than a year after the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” the Associated Press reported.
“The Defense Department is planning an LGBT Pride Month event for later this month,” Pentagon spokeswoman Eileen Laniez said in a statement issued Thursday, according to CNN.
Officials told the AP Defense Secretary Leon Panetta wanted to honor the contributions of gay service members, who up until last year could be kicked out of the military if they disclosed their sexual identity under the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy, The Hill reported.
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“Now that we’ve repealed ‘don’t ask, don’t tell,’ he feels it’s important to find a way this month to recognize the service and professionalism of gay and lesbian troops,” said Pentagon spokesman and Navy Captain John Kirby.
Press Secretary George Little told CNN that senior Defense Department officials would take part in the event, but did not disclose any other details.
After conducting surveys in each military branch, US military leaders concluded that the repeal of the DADT military policy had not affected morale or readiness in any way, Defense Secretary Panetta said last month, the AP reported.
“I don’t think it’s just moving along smoothly, I think it’s accelerating faster than we even thought the military would as far as progress goes,” Air Force 1st Lt. Josh Seefried, a finance officer and co-director of OutServe, told the AP.
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At the beginning of the month, Obama declared June LGBT Pride Month, the Hill reported.
“Because we repealed ‘Don’t ask, don’t tell,’ gay, lesbian, and bisexual Americans can serve their country openly, honestly, and without fear of losing their jobs because of whom they love,” Obama wrote, according to the Hill.