Obama marks 'Don't ask, don't tell' end by inviting gay colonel to State of Union

An Air Force intelligence officer who participated in the first military ceremony with a same-sex partner after “Don’t ask, don’t tell” was repealed is among the guests invited by President Obama to watch the State of the Union inside the House chamber.

Col. Ginger Wallace was one of nearly two dozen people who were invited to watch the State of the Union in first lady Michelle Obama's Box, the White House announced Tuesday.

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Wallace’s partner of more than a decade, Kathy Knopf, attended her “pinning on” rank ceremony, in the first event of its kind since the military’s “Don’t ask, don’t tell” policy was repealed last year.

Wallace, who lives in McLean, Va., is currently set to be deployed to Afghanistan this spring.


Among the other invitees in the first lady’s box are Adm. William McRaven, who oversaw the raid that killed Osama bin Laden; Adrienne Howard, a military spouse who has been involved in family readiness groups and Navy spouse organizations; Sgt. Ashleigh Berg, who is currently serving in the Army along with her husband, who is in Afghanistan; and astronaut Mike Kelly, the husband of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.).