The gay rights activist group, GetEqual, partnered up with Proud Ally, for a rally at the Times Square Recruitment Center to celebrate LGBT veterans and their service for Veterans Day. Reichen Lehmkuhl, who served five years in the Air Force and attained the rank of Captain, spoke about his experiences as a gay man in the military and the need to end the Don’t Ask Don’t Tell policy. Other speakers included Dr. Mick Maurer a combat medic from 1971 – 1975, Tanya Domi, who was a drill instructor and paratrooper in the US Army and Justin Elzie who served in the Marine Corps and came out on ABC Evening News in 1993, becoming the first Marine discharged under Don’t Ask Don’t Tell. While thanking LGBT veterans for their service the speakers also called on President Obama to use the power of the presidency to stop the discrimination against gay soldiers (as well as a direct appeal to Senate Majority Leader, Harry Reid, to schedule a vote on the repeal of DADT during the lame duck session).
Related: The ACLU has filed a class action suit against the Obama administration’s Department of Defense because soldiers that are discharged for homosexuality through Don’t Ask Don’t Tell are given only half of the separation pay given to other honorable discharges. Happy Veterans Day. (Top photos: Reichen Lehmkuhl and Proud Ally. Click on photos below text to begin slide show. All photos by AGuyNamedWayne)