Senator Kirsten Gillibrand made herself something of a national figure by pushing the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, and this afternoon, her office was about 20 minutes ahead of the White House with a statement cheering the official presidential certification that will end the policy.
Around 4 p.m. today, President Obama officially certified that the military is prepared to transition away from the policy, which begins a 60-day countdown that marks the final stages of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell. The policy is now set to end on September 20.
“Thousands of our brave men and women will no longer have to lie about who they are as they serve and fight for our nation,” Gillibrand said in the statement.
She began pushing for repeal after meeting with Lieutenant Dan Choi in 2009, after she was elevated to the Senate and promised gay groups she would be a committed advocate for their cause. Her efforts helped schedule an influential Armed Services hearing, in which military leaders testified the policy could be repealed without any catastrophic consequences.
In her statement today, Gillibrand looked ahead to the next fight for gay groups, repealing the Defense of Marriage Act.
“Just as every American deserves the right to serve their country openly, honestly, and with integrity, every American deserves the right to marry the person they love and start a family,” she said. “Now is the time for Congress to take the next step toward fairness and equality in America, and end the discrimination currently enshrined in our marriage laws by passing the Respect for Marriage Act.”
The president — who is “evolving” in his attitudes — has yet to certify that cause.