Like so many others, I've been smiling from ear to ear. Congress has finally passed the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, a blatantly discriminatory policy against gays and lesbians who serve in our nation’s military.

That's worth a celebration and more.

Over the 17 years it was in place, Don't Ask Don't Tell (DADT) resulted in the discharge of more than 14,000 qualified military personnel for their sexual orientation.

These soldiers' dedication to defending their country as well as their expertise in combat, military strategy and translation skills were all discounted because of an outdated military policy based on bigotry and prejudice.

Polls have shown for years that more than 78 percent of Americans have favored a DADT repeal. A study done by the Pentagon found 2/3 of military personnel said that having openly gay servicemembers would have no effect on their morale. It is amazing that the attitudes of our legislators have lagged so far behind for this long!

This repeal finally recognizes that sexual orientation has nothing to do with a person's courage, sacrifice, qualifications or abilities. With this action, Congress reaffirms that bigotry has no place in any of our country’s institutions.

Here in Michigan, we can thank our elected officials for the courage of their convictions. Both Senators Carl Levin (who is chairperson of the Senate Armed Forces Committee) and Debbie Stabenow voted to repeal Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.

Please join us as we celebrating the the DADT repeal by thanking our Senators for fighting LGBT discrimination.

Write a letter of thanks and support to:

Senator Debbie Stabenow at

Senator Carl Levin at his website
By Jay Kaplan, LGBT Staff Attorney