Obama celebrates five-year anniversary of ‘Don’t ask, don’t tell’ repeal
© Greg Nash
President Obama on Tuesday marked the five-year anniversary of the repeal of “Don’t ask, don’t tell,” touting “the power to change” and pledging to continue working “to move our country even closer to our founding ideals.”
 
The controversial policy, which took effect in 1994, barred openly gay people from serving in the military. 
 
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Obama vowed to repeal the rule as he campaigned in the 2008 presidential election. He signed the Don't Ask, Don't Tell Repeal Act on Dec. 22, 2010, after a protracted congressional fight.
 
“Since the repeal of DADT, I’ve received hundreds of letters from service members who can now serve their country openly,” Obama wrote in a Facebook post Tuesday.
 
“Their stories are a powerful reminder of how much has changed over the past five years,” he added.
 
The president told the story of gay man who had been torn over joining the military prior to the policy’s repeal, who is now an officer in the Navy.
 
“As Commander in Chief, I have no greater responsibility than keeping Americans safe,” he said. “And when it comes to defending our country, we need to draw on the talents of every American — regardless of sexual orientation.”
 
Obama noted other expansions of gay rights under his administration, including barring federal contractors from firing gay employees, pushing to end so-called “conversion therapy” for minors and legalized same-sex marriage.
 
“This anniversary reminds us that in America, we have the power to change — to make sure more of our loved ones and friends and neighbors share in our country’s promise,” he wrote.