Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi released the following statement on the one-year anniversary of the historic end of the discriminatory "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy, which falls on Thursday:
"One year ago, with the official end of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell,' our nation finally closed the door on a fundamental unfairness for the gay and lesbian community and reaffirmed the American ideal of equality for all. We ensured that our brave men and women in uniform can serve the country they love regardless of who they love. We upheld the core principle that anyone who wishes to serve and secure this country will be judged by their abilities and honored for their sacrifice.
"As we celebrate this moment in history, we know our work is far from finished. While we continue our efforts to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act once and for all, we must ensure that all military families are afforded the same dignity, respect, and benefits. The Defense Department should be commended for its swift action to extend certain rights to gay and lesbian servicemembers and their families; now, we must work toward a day when same-sex couples are given the same medical coverage, housing, travel, and other benefits that every family receives. Our country should never divide our military into two classes of servicemembers.
"America remains the land of the free and the home of the brave because of the extraordinary courage, dedication, and heroism of our troops. They defend our values on distant battlefields; by ending "Don't Ask, Don't Tell,' we have defended our values here at home."