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America's post-DADT military: Stronger than ever

September 20, 2011 | 11:37 am

DADT

Hey, what happened?  Did I miss the big news?  Didn't America's armed forces disband Tuesday?

After all, the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy  has officially ended.  Gays and lesbians are now free to serve openly.

Surely our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan surrendered, right?

Didn't thousands and thousands of troops desert, leaving places such as South Korea virtually undefended?

I'll bet the Navy has brought all of its ships into port, and the Air Force has grounded all flights. People probably fled the Pentagon en masse.  At West Point and Annapolis, cadets likely left school and went home.

No? You're kidding.

You mean, in 2011, America's fighting men and women actually don't care that those serving with them are gay?

Well, maybe that's too much to ask.  Maybe some do care.  And like all Americans, they're free to have their own opinions about homosexuality.

What has changed is that they can't officially discriminate against gays and lesbians.

And that's a good thing.

Of course, there are other changes.  Take this Navy officer:

Navy Lt. Gary Ross celebrated … by marrying his longtime partner in Vermont at midnight Monday -- the exact moment of the repeal. Ross told the Associated Press that when he returns to work as a surface warfare officer at Ft. Huachuca in Arizona near the Mexican border, he does not plan to make a big deal about the marriage. But he no longer has to keep it a secret either.

The old system "requires you to lie several times a day," he said.

Sheesh.  First, openly gay in the military.  Then married.  There seems to be no stopping this whole "equal rights" thing, once you get the hang of it.

Still, not everyone is pleased:

"It's a tragic day for America," said Peter Sprigg of the Family Research Council.

No, Mr. Sprigg, it's not. 

Because what we've finally recognized is that a gay Marine is, well, a Marine.  A lesbian Air Force mechanic who works on helicopters is, well, a mechanic who works on helicopters. 

And that makes it a great day for America, and for all Americans. 

RELATED:

Photos: The faces of 'Don't ask, don't tell'

Obama certifies end to ban on gays in the military

Government calls ruling against 'don't ask, don't tell' moot

First Person: When friendship is the only thing that matters

-- Paul Whitefield

Photo: A member of the Air Force reads a copy of OutServe, a new magazine aimed at gay military service men and women. Credit: Paul J. Richards / AFP / Getty Images

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