Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney stood outside the Armed Services Recruiting Station in Times Square today to salute Department of Defense Secretary Leon Panetta for lifting the ban on women serving in military combat roles. Rep. Maloney was joined by Lt. Commander Beth Kleiman of the U.S. Navy Reserves and Rebekah Havrilla of the Service Women's Action Network, both of whom hailed the decision as a step forward for equality and as an opening of opportunities for women service members.
"I sincerely commend Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta for his decision today to remove the ban on women serving in combat roles in the U.S. military," said Representative Maloney, a former Co-Chair of the Congressional Caucus on Women's Issues and the lead House sponsor of the Equal Rights Amendment.
"This latest groundbreaking move by the Obama administration proves yet again that in America, equal truly means equal. I was personally moved by our President's focus on equality throughout his recent inaugural address, and I am so glad to see the policies of our nation keeping pace with his inspirational goals.
"This decision shatters the brass ceiling for women in the military! They will now have an equal opportunity to serve their country, an equal right to enter into their chosen field and if they have the talent and ability, they will have an equal chance of moving into the top ranks of military command.
Lieutenant Commander Beth Kleiman of the United States Navy Reserves joined Congresswoman at today's news conference, where she said, "When I took the oath to serve, I did so without restriction. I'm glad the policy now matches the reality of my service, and that of all female members who serve in our armed forces."