Today marked the end of the US military’s controversial “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy banning soldiers from being openly gay. The whole country seems to have breathed a sigh of relief.
It seems the shear absurdity of the policy is now being realised.
In San Diego, nearly 70 years after expelling 89-year-old WW2 vet Melvin Dwork for being gay, the Navy is changing his discharge from “undesirable” to “honorable”. He was booted from the Navy in 1944 at the height of the war after his own boyfriend gave him up (something he only found out about last year) and he has been denied medical care usually afforded all vets ever since.
He’s not alone, either. About 100,000 troops were discharged between World War II and 1993 for being gay and lost their benefits for serving their country as a result.
From tomorrow, not only can gays serve openly in the military, the 13,000 discharged under the old policy (since 1993) can re-enlist.
US comedian Jon Stewart probably sums it up best:
“That’s how rediclous this policy was.
“The apology for the affront is, ‘All right, sorry, you can go to Afghanistan and fight for your country!’ “
It’s heartbreaking (in a good way) to watch, but this US soldier stationed in Germany yesterday decided to come out to his dad LIVE on Youtube.
*SPOILER ALERT – it all ends well (but is bloody nerve-racking in the lead up)
In other gay news, a historic motion backing same-sex marriage has today been passed by the Tasmanian House of Assembly.
It is the first time an Australian parliament has voted in favor of marriage equality for gay and lesbian couples.