Maria Cantwell Hails End of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell": "Long Road to Victory"

Edmonds resident and U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-WA) today praised the end of the "Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell" policy on gays in the military. The repeal legislation that President Obama signed into law on December 22, 2010, became effective today.

"Today, at long last, the discriminatory ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ policy ends for good," Cantwell said in a statement. "I was proud to vote to repeal this discriminatory policy, which for too long denied thousands of U.S. service members the chance to serve their country with pride and harmed our armed forces’ ability to recruit and maintain personnel with skills essential to protecting national security. Beginning today, no other individual committed to serving his or her country in the military will lose his or her job due to their sexual orientation.

"It’s been a long road to victory for all the brave men and women who stood up against this discriminatory policy. I want to commend two women in particular from my home state of Washington, whose combined struggles to rejoin the military under this policy and serve their country spanned nearly two decades and helped contribute to today’s victory.

"Retired U.S. Army Col. Grethe Cammermeyer of Whidbey Island and Air Force Maj. Margaret Witt of Spokane both were honorably discharged under the ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ policy and fought drawn-out court battles to rejoin their military units. Cammermeyer’s struggle was even the inspiration for a television movie, Serving in Silence, which brought this issue out of the shadows and educated millions on the injustice of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.’

"Because of brave Americans like Grethe Cammermeyer and Margaret Witt standing up and fighting, ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ will be relegated to the history books."