Presidential candidate Joe Biden marked the ninth anniversary of the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell yesterday.
DADT allowed gay people to serve in the military provided they kept quiet about their sexuality. Although the legislation stopped the dismissal of some LGBTI people, it forced them to live in the closet. President Barack Obama repealed DADT in 2011, when Biden was Vice President.
Biden issued a statement to LGBTQ Nation. He called the repeal of DADT a ‘big step toward justice, fairness, and equality.’
‘I was proud to work with President Obama, members of Congress, the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the military services, and the advocacy community to end this discriminatory policy,’ he said. ‘And I remain proud today to stand with the LGBTQ+ community in their tireless pursuit of equality and human rights.’
‘Generations of Americans, many of them LGBTQ+, have shed blood around the world in defense of our freedoms and to protect US vital interests. But instead of honoring them, President Trump denigrates their sacrifice, calling our fallen service members ‘losers’ and ‘suckers.’ He’s made clear he has no commitment to, or sense of, service, and no loyalty to any cause other than himself.’
He then highlighted Trump’s attempts to ban trans people serving in the military. Biden ends by saying that if elected, he would ensure all those who volunteer to serve their country see their sacrifices honored.
Trump’s contested views on fallen heroes
The Atlantic earlier this month detailed President Trump’s alleged views on fallen soldiers.
It said he previously canceled a visit to a war cemetery in France with the words, ‘Why should I go to that cemetery? It’s filled with losers.’ Sources also claimed he labeled marines who lost their lives at the Battle of Belleau Wood in World War One as ‘suckers’ for getting killed.
The Trump administration strenuously denied the claims. It pointed instead to legislative change the President introduced to benefit serving personnel and veterans.
President Trump, a prolific Tweeter, did not himself comment on the repeal anniversary of DADT.
‘Tremendous damage on the lives of so many brave American patriots’
The Clinton administration introduced DADT in 1993. Jennifer Dane is Interim Executive Director of LGBTI advocacy group, Modern Military Association of America. She celebrated the anniversary of its repeal online.
‘Nine years ago today, as a nation we put a deeply discriminatory policy where it belonged — in history’s trash can,’ she Tweeted.
‘”Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” (DADT) inflicted tremendous damage on the lives and careers of so many brave American patriots, and it deprived the military of highly trained and talented individuals.’
The US election takes place on November 3, 2020, although postal ballots open before that date.