In recognition of gay pride month, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta praised gay and lesbian service members for their contributions to the country in a historical first.
As we recognize Pride month, I want to personally thank all of our gay and lesbian service members, LGBT civilians, and their families for their dedicated service to our country... Diversity is one of our greatest strengths. During Pride month -- and every month -- let us celebrate our rich diversity and renew our enduring commitment to equality for all.
The Obama administration saw to the repeal of the controversial "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy, which prevented openly gay service members from serving, last July.
Panetta praised the repeal, as well as those that continued to serve during it: "You put your country before yourself."
The pursuit of equality is fundamental to the American story. The successful repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” proved to the Nation that just like the country we defend, we share different backgrounds, different values, and different beliefs -- but together, we are the greatest military force in the world.