Makes statement on one-year anniversary of end of anti-gay policy.
It was one year ago today (20 September) that the US military officially ended its Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy which forced gay and lesbian personnel to conceal their sexual orientation in order to avoid being discharged.
President Barack Obama, who in December 2010 signed a bill repealing the policy, said in a statement issued by The White House that national security has been 'strengthened' in the 12 months since the official end of DADT.
'As Commander in Chief, I’ve seen that our national security has been strengthened because we are no longer denied the skills and talents of those patriotic Americans who happen to be gay or lesbian,' Obama said.
Those who had argued against the repeal of DADT had maintained that national security would be threatened if gays and lesbians were allowed to serve openly.
'It is a testament to the professionalism of our men and women in uniform that this change was implemented in an orderly manner, preserving unit cohesion, recruitment, retention and military effectiveness,' Obama stated. 'The ability of service members to be open and honest about their families and the people they love honors the integrity of the individuals who serve, strengthens the institutions they serve, and is one of the many reasons why our military remains the finest in the world.'