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The Hamilton Spectator
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Thursday, December 23, 2010
President Obama on Wednesday signed a bill doing away with the ban on gays serving openly in the military, a milestone he said redeemed the sacrifice of gay men and women who fought in every war beginning with the 18th century battle for independence.

Using 15 ceremonial pens, Obama repealed the "don't ask, don't tell" law, beginning the transition to an armed forces in which gay troops no longer need to conceal their sexual orientation in order to serve.

Obama cast the issue as part of a string of civil rights struggles that beat back discrimination in favor of a more tolerant, unified nation.

Speaking to a crowd of about 500 military leaders, members of Congress, gay rights advocates and service men and women, Obama said, "We are not a nation that says 'don't ask, don't tell.' We are a nation that says out of many, we are one. We are a nation that welcomes the service of every patriot. We are a nation that believes all men and women are created equal."

It was an emotional scene in the Interior Department, where the bill-signing took place to accommodate an unusually large crowd. As Obama appeared on stage, the crowd chanted, "Yes we can!" a slogan from Obama's 2008 campaign.

A smiling president said, "Thank you. Yes, we did!"

Obama recounted the story of Lloyd Corwin, an Army private during World War II who tumbled into a 40-foot ravine during the Battle of the Bulge and was "as good as dead." But a friend and fellow soldier, Andy Lee, turned back and rescued Corwin. Continued...

'Don't ask, don't tell' repeal signed by Obama
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