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Back to Section One | Back to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, September 3, 2010 - Volume 38 Issue 36
Pentagon to meet with Gay partners of some troops
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Pentagon to meet with Gay partners of some troops

by Shaun Knittel - SGN Associate Editor

In an announcement that seems stranger than fiction, Servicemembers United, one of the nation's largest groups for Gay and Lesbian troops, says that members of a Pentagon working group reviewing a potential repeal of the military's 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' (DADT) policy will meet this month with the Gay and Lesbian partners of some troops.

Servicemembers United said they would host the meeting - the first ever between military officials and Gay partners - on September 16.

According to Alex Nicholson, Servicemembers United executive director, senior members of the Pentagon's Comprehensive Review Working Group on DADT will attend the meeting. The military has asked the group not to disclose the exact time and location of the meeting to ensure the security and the confidentiality of the partners in attendance, said Nicholson.

"The meeting will enable the partners to provide their perspectives on the topic of repeal of DADT, should it occur," said Pentagon spokeswoman Cynthia Smith. "This engagement is consistent with our comprehensive approach to this review."

The confirmed meeting is nothing short of historical. Over the last two months, the Pentagon sent out what many deemed derogatory surveys to troops and their spouses while top Pentagon officials made derisive comments in regards to shower and sleeping facilities should Gays be allowed to serve openly.

"We are honored to be able to facilitate this meeting between the partners of active duty Lesbian and Gay troops and the leadership and staff of the Comprehensive Review Working Group," said Nicholson. "The plight of military partners is something that Servicemembers United has led the way on with our Campaign for Military Partners, and we have been pushing for partner input into the review process for quite some time. We are glad that the Pentagon recognizes the value of input from these silent heroes."

The Campaign for Military Partners was launched by Servicemembers United in 2009 to reach out to, recognize, connect, and support the partners of LGBT military personnel.

The review of the potential repeal of DADT is due by December 1 to President Obama, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates, and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen.

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