In recognition of Gay Pride Month, the Pentagon released a video address of Defense Secretary Leon Panetta thanking gay and lesbian service members. The address comes about nine months after the "don't ask, don't tell" policy, banning gay active-duty members from serving openly, was repealed.
The story began in December 2010, when Congress officially repealed the policy, but it remained in place until Sept. 20, 2011. To celebrate Gay Pride Month, we've put together a gallery of gays in the military.
Active-duty and former Navy sailors gathered to celebrate the Gay Pride Parade on July 16, 2011, including more than 200 active-duty members. It was the first time that a group of active-duty service members publicly participated in such an event.(AP Photo/Gregory Bull)
Army Lt. Daniel Choi was a prominent LGBT activist after coming out on the Rachel Maddow Show in 2009 and becoming a staunch opponent of the "don't ask, don't tell" policy. Here, he leaves a meeting with Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., on Dec. 22, 2010. Reid was returning Choi's West Point ring, which Choi had asked him to hold until the policy was repealed.(Chet Susslin)
The "don't ask, don't tell" policy, banning gays from serving openly in the military, was officially ended on Sept. 20, 2011, after being enforced since 1993. Here, Julian Chang (left) of the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network cheers with California state Sen. Mark Leno, retired Navy Commander Zoe Dunning, veteran Navy Capt. Bob Dockendorff, and retired Navy Petty Officer Joseph Rocha at a news conference in San Francisco.(AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)
On Dec. 21, 2011, Petty Officer 2nd Class Marissa Gaeta was the first openly gay servicewoman to enjoy the Navy's tradition of kissing a loved one after returning from 80 days at sea. Here, Gaeta is embracing her partner, Citlalic Snell.(AP video still)
Sgt. Brandon Morgan is shown kissing his partner, Dalan Wells, at a Hawaii Marine base, about five months after repeal of the DADT policy. Morgan's photo,among one of the first showing an active-duty serviceman kissing his partner while in uniform, went viral shortly after it was taken.(AP Photo/David Lewis)
Norwich University, the oldest private military academy, celebrates its first gay-pride week, in March 2012, just six months after the repeal of the "don't ask, don't tell" policy. The university's Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Questioning. and Allies Club displayed information about its programs at the library.(AP Photo/Alison Redlich)
Kaitlyn Kelly celebrates after graduation from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y. Kelly was among the dozens of cadents who had attended a dinner in recognition of gay and lesbian graduates and cadets, hosted by the alumni gay-advocacy group Knights Out. Kelly was able to introduce her civilian girlfriend at the event 100 days before her 2012 graduation.(AP Photo/Mike Groll)
Tracey Ballard of the Central Intelligence Agency is shown recruiting active LGBT military members at the OutServe Armed Forces Leadership summit on Oct. 15, 2011. The 2011 summit was the largest gathering of gay troops since the "don't ask, don't tell" policy was repealed one month ago. OutServe was formerly a secretive network of LGBT service members.(AP Photo/Isaac Brekken)