Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta released a video this morning thanking gay and lesbian service members -- and their families -- in recognition of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Pride Month.
"Before the repeal of 'Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,' you faithfully served your country with professionalism and courage. And just like your fellow service members, you put your country before yourself," Panetta says in his address. "And now, after repeal, you can be proud of serving your country, and be proud of who you are when in uniform."
"Don't Ask, Don't Tell" was signed into law in 1993, and President Obama signed a repeal in 2010. Since then,, House Republicans have attempted to reinstate the policy and have taken other measures to ban equality for LGBT service members.
Panetta notes in the video address that he is proud of the way the repeal of DADT was implemented, and that he remains committed "to removing as many barriers as possible to make America's military a model of equal opportunity."
The Pentagon also announced recently that it would hold its first gay pride event on June 26.