Imagine these scenarios.
Lt Commander Riley comes home from work with a big bouquet of roses for her partner. She tells her to get dressed up, they’re going out. They go to the little restaurant down the street that they’ve wanted to try, but were afraid to go to because someone might see them.
It’s a few weeks after DADT is finally totally dead. A group of Sgt. Thompson’s buddies approach him. They awkwardly beat around the bush for a few minutes making small talk before one of the guys blurts out, “So you’re gay, right?” Sgt. Thompson is initially terrified by the question, having lived in silence about this part of his life for years. His buddies explain why they suspected, but because of the law, they didn’t want to bring it up, because someone might hear, and they didn’t want him to get kicked out. They share a laugh, and life continues on.
By all accounts this is going to be reaction to the end of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. A big non-event. A few people get to have their quality of life improved and no one is otherwise effected.
But where it gets exciting is this scenario.
The Labor Day squadron picnic is coming up. Major Daniels knows that Lt. Parker is gay and that he lives with his partner off-base. Because of DADT, the partner has never been able to come to any of the functions that are part of life on a military base. The Major lets Lt. Parker know that he’s expected to bring his partner to the event. His wife has been dying to meet his partner, and several of the other officers’ spouses are too. Parker and his partner have a great time at the picnic and the partner is invited to join the Officer’s Spouses Club on the base.
This is where DADT repeal is going to be the first domino that starts a whole new wave of acceptance for gays in America.
When he has you over for dinner while your spouses are deployed, you’ll discover that you’re not that different.
When he call you in a panic because he hasn’t heard from his deployed partner for while, you’ll know that his love is just as real.
When he is standing beside you at the homecoming, so nervously excited that he can’t even stand still, you’ll know that you’re the same.
The military has been the great equalizer in American History. On the battlefields of the world, minorities have won their equality by fighting alongside their comrades. It’s hard to hate someone who you call your friend.