American Foundation for Equal Rights

A Time to Celebrate, A Time to Look Ahead

By Chad Griffin, AFER Board President

Today, I had the honor of witnessing one of the greatest federal legislative victories for LGBT equality in American history. With strong support from Democrats, Republicans, Independents and the military, President Obama signed into law the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”

This major achievement should be celebrated not only because it enables qualified, dedicated and patriotic men and women to serve their country with integrity, but also because it sends an unequivocal message: equality is a basic right that makes America stronger.

Yet as we celebrate, we must look ahead to other challenges. There is much to be done.

While we have ended discrimination for those who wear our nation’s uniform, inequality is still pervasive in our state and federal laws. At best, this discrimination is painfully evident in the daily lives of millions of Americans. At worst, as we have tragically seen too often this past year, it can breed bullying and hate with devastating consequences—especially for LGBT youth.

The American Foundation for Equal Rights continues to fight against the injustice of discrimination and for the freedoms guaranteed to all American citizens. This bedrock belief in equality and freedom led us to challenge the constitutionality of California’s Proposition 8. All gay and lesbian Americans should be able to say the words “I do,” and be afforded the civil rights and protections of marriage.

We will continue our fight for LGBT equality, emboldened by today’s landmark repeal, and inspired by countless gay and lesbian Americans who deserve nothing less than to live and love in a free and equal nation.