10/2/2011 This Way Out

 

Hosted this week by Greg Gordon and produced with Lucia Chappelle

NewsWrap: Countdown celebrations in LGBT venues across the country culminating at the stroke of midnight on September 20th cheer the official repeal of Don't Ask Don't Tell, the 18-year-old U.S. military policy that kept lesbian and gay service members in the closet; YouTube video of a private stationed at an Air Force base in Germany coming out to his father in Alabama on the day of repeal gets more than two million views [excerpts of the virally-sensational PRIVATE FIRST CLASS RANDY PHILLIPS], while a gay World War II veteran wins a decades-long battle to have his discharge officially changed from undesirable to honorable, Marine recruiters make U.S. military history by visiting an LGBT center in Tulsa, Oklahoma to sign up new enlistees, and a justice of the peace in Vermont declares a gay lieutenant officially out as he pronounces the Naval Academy graduate legally married to his longtime partner seconds after midnight on the day of repeal; but the Obama administration fights an effort to get equal separation pay for gays and lesbians honorably discharged under Don't Ask Don't Tell, another lawsuit to formally declare the policy unconstitutional, and a vindictive prosecution defense allowed by a federal judge hearing failure to obey a lawful police order charges against military equality advocate Lt. Dan Choi for chaining himself to the White House fence to protest Don't Ask Don't Tell before its Congressional repeal – although the President does issue a statement hailing the demise of the policy and briefly voices support for gays and lesbians around the world during his speech the following day at the U.N. General Assembly; meanwhile, a federal judge allows the release of video recordings of last year's landmark Proposition 8 trial – though his decision will almost certainly be appealed – while a state judge in Alaska rules that lesbian and gay couples are entitled to the same senior citizen and disabled veteran property tax exemptions as the state's heterosexual couples; government officials in the U.K. say they're planning initial discussions on full civil marriage equality legislation in March 2012 with an enactment goal of 2015, while Tasmania's lower house of parliament passes a resolution urging the Australian federal government to open civil marriage to same-gender couples; and out Emmy winner and host of this year's telecast JANE LYNCH peppers her comments with lesbian references throughout the ceremony, including the lavish opening musical number, during which she slyly discusses recent social progress and the battles yet to be won with the cast of the 1960s era-set Mad Men [with an audio clip] (written by GREG GORDON, with thanks to REX WOCKNER, produced by STEVE PRIDE, and reported this week by ROBERT LEBLANC RICK WATTS)

The biggest news story in the U.S. on September 20th was the official end of “DON’T ASK DON’T TELL” after almost 18 years on the books. More than 14,000 lesbian and gay service members were fired under the policy that required them to stay in the closet. Many never “told” anyone but were nevertheless discharged when others did. With some of the gay and lesbian military activists who fought for its repeal, Amy Goodman reviewed some of the history of “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” on Pacifica Radio’s “Democracy Now”; the highest-rated news commentator on the MSNBC cable network spent almost half of her hour-long “Rachel Maddow Show” celebrating the demise of “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell”... and our Steve Pride was at a repeal celebration hosted by the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network at the Los Angeles Gay Lesbian Center [featuring the voices of ARMY LIEUTENANT DAN CHOI, Servicemembers United Founder and Executive Director ALEXANDER NICHOLSON, NAVY COMMANDER ZOE DUNNING, AIR FORCE FIRST LIEUTENANT JOSH SEEFRIED, Board Member TOM CARPENTER of the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, and other active duty and veteran U.S. lesbian, gay, and bisexual military personnel)

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October 2, 2011

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