Rabbi Saperstein: "As we thank the Obama Administration, members of Congress, and military leaders whose leadership resulted in today's repeal of 'Don't Ask Don't Tell,' we encourage them to build on today's step forward by adopting policies that will further ensure equality for LGBT servicemembers."
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Washington, DC September 20, 2011 - In response to today's repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," Rabbi David Saperstein, Director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, issued the following statement:
This morning, after a lengthy process, the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy, which required lesbian, gay, and bisexual service members to hide their sexual orientation, was fully repealed. Today marks the first time in American history that lesbian, gay, and bisexual individuals can serve openly in the military.
We celebrate the end of a discriminatory policy that diminished lesbian, gay, and bisexual members of our military even as they sought to serve and defend our country. At long last, lesbian, gay, and bisexual Americans in uniform will be able to be honest about themselves with their friends and co-workers without living in constant fear of discovery.
Even amidst today's celebrations, we recognize the challenges ahead. Because of the misguided Defense of Marriage Act, same-sex military spouses will continue to be denied the same federal benefits provided to opposite-sex military spouses, including medical care, housing, or moving costs. As we thank the Obama Administration, members of Congress, and military leaders whose leadership resulted in today's repeal of "Don't Ask Don't Tell," we encourage them to build on this step forward by adopting policies that will further ensure equality for lesbian, gay and bisexual service members. In Genesis 1:27 we read, "And God created humans in God's image, in the image of God, God created them; male and female God created them." Today's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" repeal reflects that fundamental value and respect for the Divine spark within all people.