In one of the most dramatic declarations, a U.S. service member, purportedly serving in Germany, posted a video of himself on YouTube calling his father in Alabama to tell him for the first time that he is gay.
“Can I tell you something? Will you love me, serious?” asks the service member, who uses the moniker “areyousurprised” on Twitter and Facebook.
“Dad, I’m gay,” the service member says, his voice dropping. “I always have been, I’ve known since forever, and uh, I know I haven’t seen you in like a year, and I don’t know when’s the next time I’m going to be able to see you, I didn’t to tell you over the phone, I wanted to tell you in person.”
The father assures the man that he still loves his son, who then smiled and said he still needed to tell his mother. The service member is heard saying in the video that he waited for more than four hours before deciding to call his father with the news.
Shortly after the military lifted its gay ban at midnight Tuesday, a Navy lieutenant and his partner exchanged marriage vows in Vermont, taking advantage of the state’s legal recognition of same-sex couples and the Pentagon’s decision to repeal the ban, according to the Associated Press.
“I think it was a beautiful ceremony. The emotions really hit me...but it’s finally official,” Navy Lt. Gary Ross told the AP after his wedding.
In Washington, President Obama marked the day in a written statement, noting that “patriotic Americans in uniform will no longer have to lie about who they are in order to serve the country they love.”
“Our armed forces will no longer lose the extraordinary skills and combat experience of so many gay and lesbian service members,” Obama added. “And today, as Commander in Chief, I want those who were discharged under this law to know that your country deeply values your service.”
Ed O’Keefe compiled the reactions from several top lawmakers and activists on the repeal of the policy:
Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.):
“Thousands of qualified men and women who want to serve our country will now be able to do so without fearing their careers could end due to their sexual orientation. Our Armed Forces will be stronger because now our military commanders and our nation can be sure we will have the best and brightest service members on the job, regardless of ethnicity, creed, or sexual orientation.”
Rep. Jared Polis (D-Colo.):
“The repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell is a victory for the cause of equality and our national defense. For too long, this wrongheaded policy prevented brave Americans from serving in our military and defending our country just because of who they love. It undermined our national security by forcing gays and lesbians out of military service at a time when America needs the most talented and the bravest protecting us, regardless of their sexual orientation. It’s about time.”