There’s no doubt that the hours, days, weeks and years of struggle can become enraging, depressing and frustrating. The enormous amounts of time and treasure that we pour out attempting to achieve even basic fair treatment under the law can, on some days, be overwhelming.
But not on this day. Not today.
This day we celebrate two tremendous, historic and game-changing victories. This day we begin to mark the ending of some decades-old struggles.
Friday, President Obama, the Secretary of Defense and the Joint Chiefs signed and sent to Congress the Certification that our armed forces are ready and able to end decades of discrimination in the armed forces. And the 60-day clock started. On September 20, 2011 the discriminatory law that has forced lesbian and gay servicemembers to hide, struggle and suffer in silence will be repealed.
Done. Over. Now just a shameful chapter of history. As the clock ticks down the days, we’ll all be nervous; anxious that no last-minute, desperate acts of hate interfere. But we will also wait and count down with the growing sense that decades of activism, hope and courage are about to be rewarded with a historic victory. A new gay home decoration will be born: the framed copy of the front page of the New York Times headline that says: Repeal! Discrimination Dead!
And there’s more. Yesterday in the great state of New York, loving, dedicated gay and lesbian couples began to marry. Couples who have waited a lifetime to receive the basic dignity and recognition of their love and families that every human being deserves finally got to feel love win. Years of work, acts of bravery on both sides of the aisle, and thousands who have worked and held the hope can hear the bells ring. We celebrate with New York!
Does it mean all the battles are over? Of course not. Every Californian feels the bittersweet pain as they celebrate New York. It means that for a few short days we all get to remember that these days do come. That the values we represent -- freedom, dignity, compassion, fairness, service to country and to family, and equality -- do win.
Today is a celebration for all of us, not just a few. Today is a day when we remember that every email to an elected official, every Facebook post and re-post, every dollar we gave, every vote we cast for supportive candidates…it all mattered.
The struggles are painful and hard; the celebrations need to be equally intense, passionate, and hope-filled.
Join us at The Center tonight (Monday, July 25) at 6 pm to celebrate the certification of DADT repeal and the Countdown to Justice! In 57 days, Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell will finally be history. We’ll get the legal update from Servicemembers Legal Defense Network and hear from some of our LGBT elected officials. And we’ll savor the moment surrounded by our servicemembers who have served so bravely in silence, our community, friends and allies. It’s a monumental step forward – let’s celebrate it!
In the meantime, SLDN is continuing to caution servicemembers not to come out until the 60 day countdown has passed. For more information on the legal issues, visitwww.sldn.org/legal.