[Vision2020] "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" Repeal Day (September 20, 2011)

Tom Hansen thansen at moscow.com
Tue Sep 20 05:48:04 PDT 2011

As of 12:01 this morning "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" is no longer a policy in our armed forces.

Courtesy of today's (September 20, 2011) Spokesman-Review.

Gay officer weds as ban expires
Military officially ends ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ policy

DUXBURY, Vt. – When Navy Lt. Gary Ross and his partner were searching for a place to get married, they settled on a site in Vermont, in part because the state is in the Eastern time zone.

That way, the two men were able to recite their vows before family and friends at the first possible moment after the formal repeal of the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy. Just after midnight today, the partners of 11 years were married.

“I think it was a beautiful ceremony. The emotions really hit me … but it’s finally official,” Ross said early today.
Hours before the change was to take effect, the American military was also making final preparations for the historic policy shift. The Pentagon announced that it was already accepting applications from openly gay candidates, although officials said they would wait a day before reviewing them.

Ross, 33, and Dan Swezy, a 49-year-old civilian, traveled from their home in Tucson, Ariz., so they could get married in Vermont, the first state to allow gays to enter into civil unions and one of six that have legalized same-sex marriage.

Ross wore his dress uniform for the ceremony beginning at 11:45 p.m. Monday at Duxbury’s Moose Meadow Lodge, a log cabin bed-and-breakfast perched on a hillside about 15 miles northwest of Montpelier.

Pentagon press secretary George Little said Monday that the military is prepared for the end of “don’t ask, don’t tell,” a practice adopted in 1993 that allowed gays to serve as long as they did not openly acknowledge their sexual orientation. Commanders were not allowed to ask.

In preparation for today’s repeal, all branches of the military have spent several months updating regulations. Existing standards of personal conduct, such as those pertaining to public displays of affection, will continue regardless of sexual orientation.

There will be no immediate changes to eligibility for military benefits. All service members are already entitled to certain benefits, such as designating a partner as a life insurance beneficiary or as a caregiver in the Wounded Warrior program. But Swezy won’t receive military health insurance or access to a support group when Ross is at sea.

Ross, a 2002 graduate of the Naval Academy, is a surface warfare officer at the Army’s Fort Huachuca.

He met Swezy in early 2000 while Ross was still an academy student. At the time, he didn’t think through the personal implications of the military’s ban on gay and lesbian service members serving openly. But as his relationship with Swezy grew, it became important.

Navy Lt. Gary Ross, left, checks the time with Dan Swezy before exchanging wedding vows on Monday night in Duxbury, Vt.


Seeya round town, Moscow.

Tom Hansen
Moscow, Idaho

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