December 22nd, 2010
08:19 PM ET
By: CNN Pentagon Producer Larry Shaughnessy
WASHINGTON (CNN) - It wasn't a surprise that a lot of people would want to see President Obama sign the bill repealing the military's controversial "don't ask, don't tell" policy, after all the administration moved the event to a nearby auditorium at the Department of the Interior that holds far more people than any room in the White House.
But they may not have anticipated the zeal the crowd brought to the event. "Enlist us now," one audience member yelled as Obama was speaking.
A CNN White House producer who has been to a number of these events said she'd never seen a crowd at a bill signing that was so "upbeat and jovial."
As they waited for the president and his party to take the stage there were smiles, hugs and kisses between people in the audience who have been working for years to get rid of DADT.
December 22nd, 2010
09:54 AM ET
By the CNN Wire Staff
WASHINGTON (CNN) - President Barack Obama brought the long political struggle over the military's controversial "don't ask, don't tell" policy to a
The president signed the bill repealing the 17-year ban in front an jubilant crowd of supporters at the Department of Interior. Vice President Joe Biden, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-California, and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada, were among those in attendance.
Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Adm. Mike Mullen was also present for the occasion.
The repeal "will strengthen our national security and uphold (America's) ideals," Obama said. "No longer will tens of thousands of Americans in uniform be asked to live a lie."
"I believe this is the right thing to do for our military," he added. "It's the right thing to do, period."
December 22nd, 2010
08:17 AM ET
PEARL HARBOR, Hawaii (CNN) - CNN senior White House correspondent Ed Henry and I visited the Pearl Harbor Memorial to gauge reaction to President Obama's historic signing of the repeal of Don't Ask Don't Tell Wednesday morning.
We also interviewed two gay veterans, Jeff Cadavona (Ret. U.S. Air Force) and his partner Dale Head (Ret. U.S. Army), who live on Oahu and served in the U.S. military long before Don't Ask Don't Tell, back when gay people were simply banned from serving. Both of them are glad to be alive to see the law repealed.
After speaking to veterans and non-veterans of all ages, Henry found that most people thought this was a long time coming and would have happened sooner if not for politics.
CNN senior photojournalist Peter Morris shot and edited this story.
December 18th, 2010
01:58 PM ET
At several fundraising events last spring, President Obama found himself the target of hecklers yelling over “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”.
Overturning the military’s policy on gays openly serving was an early campaign promise of candidate Obama. And with his left flank pushing for action, Obama made it part of January’s State of the Union address.
But progress was slow. And as even Obama called for Congress to repeal the law, activists complained Washington wasn’t moving fast enough.
December 9th, 2010
05:54 PM ET
Statement by President Obama as released by the White House
I am extremely disappointed that yet another filibuster has prevented the Senate from moving forward with the National Defense Authorization Act. Despite having the bipartisan support of a clear majority of Senators, a minority of Senators are standing in the way of the funding upon which our troops, veterans and military families depend. This annual bill has been enacted each of the past 48 years, and our armed forces deserve nothing less this year.
November 30th, 2010
05:01 PM ET
Statement from the President as released by the White House
As Commander in Chief, I have pledged to repeal the “don’t ask, don’t tell” law because it weakens our national security, diminishes our military readiness, and violates fundamental American principles of fairness and equality by preventing patriotic Americans who are gay from serving openly in our armed forces. At the same time, as Commander in Chief, I am committed to ensuring that we understand the implications of this transition, and maintain good order and discipline within our military ranks. That is why I directed the Department of Defense earlier this year to begin preparing for a transition to a new policy.
November 15th, 2010
05:22 PM ET