President Barack Obama marked the one-year anniversary of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’s repeal Thursday, saying that the elimination of the controversial law banning gay and lesbian soldiers from openly serving “upheld the fundamental American values of fairness and equality.”
“Gay and lesbian Americans now no longer need to hide who they love in order to serve the country they love,” Obama said in a statement. “The ability of service members to be open and honest about their families and the people they love honors the integrity of the individuals who serve, strengthens the institutions they serve, and is one of the many reasons why our military remains the finest in the world.”
While Republicans as well as some members of the Joint Chief of Staff opposed the repeal of the law over concerns that it could rock unit cohesion, Obama noted that the repeal has not resulted in the consequences feared by some of its opponents.
“It is a testament to the professionalism of our men and women in uniform that this change was implemented in an orderly manner, preserving unit cohesion, recruitment, retention and military effectiveness,” Obama said, adding that the repeal ultimately strengthened National Security.
While the President signed the first step of the repeal on December 22nd, 2010, language in the law dictated that the Defense Secretary, the President and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff must certify the order. It was then required to be subjected to a short waiting period before becoming official policy.