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Sunday
May262013

Robbie Rogers Joins LA Galaxy, Becomes First Openly Gay MLS Player

Michael Tran/FilmMagic(LOS ANGELES) -- Soccer player Robbie Rogers came out of a short-lived retirement Saturday to join the Los Angeles Galaxy, becoming the first openly gay player in Major League Soccer.

The 26-year-old midfielder, who briefly walked away from the sport in February after coming out in a letter he posted online, said he was “excited” to return to the game.

“It doesn’t matter that I’m gay or where I’m from,” he said at a news conference Saturday.

Rogers, who played on the United States national team and was a professional soccer player in England, said he had received support from family, fans and players, including Galaxy star Landon Donovan.

“I know I’m very motivated and I want to be better than I was before,” he said. “I want to prove to everyone in this room and everyone in this world that I’m a great footballer, a great soccer player.

“It doesn’t matter that I’m gay,” he said. ” That’s not important.”

Rogers’ return to the game comes on the heels of NBA center Jason Collins becoming the first openly gay men’s professional basketball player.

In a recent interview with Nightline, Rogers said he hid his sexuality all his life so he could fit in with the “macho, macho man” world of soccer.

“Because it’s sports. It’s the stereotype that you’re supposed to be this manly guy that is making tackles. It’s beating up on other guys,” he said, while he was still contemplating a return to professional soccer.

“Gay athletes are athletes,” he said in the Nightline interview. “If I go back to soccer, I want to go back as Robbie. I just want it to be as simple as that.”

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Sunday
May192013

New York City Man Killed in Anti-Gay Hate Crime

Ingram Publishing/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- New York City police say a deadly shooting that took place in Greenwich Village Saturday was an anti-gay hate crime.

32-year-old Harlem resident Marc Carson and his companion were just blocks from the famous Stonewall Inn when a group approached them, making anti-gay slurs.

Police say that one member of the group, Elliot Morales, asked the two men if they were “gay wrestlers," and later asked “do you want to die here?"

Morales then pulled out a gun and shot Carson in the face, according to NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly. He died in the hospital soon afterwards.

An officer arrested Morales a few blocks away from where the shooting took place.

This is the latest in a series of bias attacks on gay men in the area, and police are investigating to see if there is any connection between this incident and earlier ones.

“It's a really sad affair,” said Sean Williams, a friend of Carson.

“I mean, come on. This is 2013. Who's killing people for being gay nowadays?”

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Monday
Dec172012

Gay Marine Proposes to Boyfriend at White House

Mike Tapscott / American Military Partner Association(WASHINGTON) -- U.S. Marine Corps Capt. Matthew Phelps made history Saturday at the home of his commander in chief.

The 35-year-old active-duty officer proposed to his boyfriend, Ben Schock, 26, in the Grand Foyer of the White House at the end of a holiday tour.

It’s believed to be the first time two gay men have gotten engaged inside the White House, and a first for an active-duty member of the U.S. military.  A transgender man proposed to his partner in the East Room earlier this year.

“Our first date was to the White House, so I wanted to propose to him there,” Phelps told ABC News. “When I got invited to the holiday tour — six months to the day that we had been there on our first date — it was way too much of a coincidence to pass up.”

The moment, which Phelps described as a complete surprise to Schock, was captured on camera by fellow tour-goers. Some of the images have since gone viral online.

The White House declined to comment on the engagement. No word on whether the Obamas knew what happened in their halls.

Phelps said his public engagement — made possible in part because of the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” — has been well-received among his Marine Corps peers. But he noted that there could be a rocky road ahead for their relationship after the nuptials planned for next spring.

“The one thing that is overshadowing things,” he said, “is the fact that the Defense of Marriage Act is still in effect and the DOD [Defense Department] isn’t going to recognize our marriage.

“I’m expecting to get orders to Japan next summer, but as of right now, because they’re not going to recognize Ben as my spouse, they’re not going to pay for him to accompany me; he’s not going to have any health care coverage; and, he’s not going to have access to the base while I’m gone,” he said.

“I’d have to get permission to live out in town as a ‘single officer,’ so we’ll have to figure that out,” he said.

The Supreme Court will later this year review the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act, which defines marriage for federal purposes as between one man and one woman.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Oct232012

North Carolina Man Says Church Kept Him Imprisoned for Being Gay

WLOS-TV/ABC News(SPINDALE, N.C.) -- A North Carolina church that has previously faced allegations of harassment and child abuse is the subject of a new investigation launched after a 22-year-old man claims he was held against his will for being gay.

Michael Lowry, who began attending Word of Faith Fellowship Church in Spindale, N.C., as a child, filed a complaint with police earlier this year and has met with investigators multiple times over the past week about the allegations, according to police.

Lowry claims that he was kept in a church dormitory for months in 2011 after telling church members he was gay, according to the Charlotte Observer.

Lowry told ABC News affiliate WLOS-TV that he was knocked unconscious by church members in August 2011 as they read him scripture because of his sexuality.

"The pastor said to find out what my darkest secret was, and I was like, 'I'm never telling,' Lowry told WLOS.  "They hit my head with fists and I was out on the floor, they held my hands and feet down and were pushing on my chest and I could barely breathe."

Lowry could not be reached for comment by ABC News.

The Rutherford County, N.C., sheriff's department met with Lowry on Friday to go over his claims again, according to Sheriff Chris Francis.

"We did a follow up interview, we looked at the allegations against the individuals, and it looks like they're part of the church, and then we did a presentation to the district attorney and the assistant district attorney on Friday," Francis said.  "We believe there will be a presentation to the grand jury sometime in the near future."

Lowry has been subpoenaed to testify in front of the grand jury about his claims, Francis said.

Jane Whaley, a pastor of Word of Faith, told ABC News the allegations are "not the truth at all."

Whaley said she and other church members, including Lowry's parents, had no idea Lowry was gay until a televised news report which aired last week.  He never told them he was gay when he was a church member, she said.

"As far as this church being against gays, that's absurdity.  There are 18 people in this church who have been delivered, they're not homosexual anymore, but if they were they could still stay in the church," she said.

Whaley said that the room Lowry claimed to be locked in is not able to be locked from the outside.  She said that Lowry came willingly to stay at the church after his parents threw him out for "rebellious behavior" and that he stayed in a building used for Bible study.

She pointed out that Lowry has appeared on news broadcasts with a fellow ex-church member, Jerry Cooper, on numerous occasions to discuss the allegations.  Cooper has been outspoken about his dislike for the church, she said.

"(Lowry) wouldn't be saying this except some disgruntled members have pushed him to do that, one of them being the guy that's with him and two others," Whaley said on Monday.  Whaley noted that she still loved Lowry and Cooper, despite their claims.

Cooper has pressed charges against Word of Faith members for harassment, and a court date is set for November, Francis said.

"I've witnessed it, the patterns, the people held down, the loud screaming, all of it, so I knew Michael's story was very credible," Cooper told WLOS in an interview with Lowry present.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Sep262012

Gay Couple Sues After Finding Pic on 'Hate Group' Mailer

Courtesy of the Southern Poverty Law Center(NEW YORK) -- Brian Edwards and Tom Privitere, a New Jersey couple whose photo of them kissing at their engagement party was altered and turned up in an anti-gay unions mailer 2,000 miles away, have filed a lawsuit against a group called Public Advocate of the United States.

They are seeking a court order alleging that the non-profit organization violated the law by the unauthorized use of the photo. They have also asked for damages, costs and attorney fees, according to the lawsuit filed Wednesday in the U.S. District Court in Colorado.

The couple received legal assistance from the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), which lists Public Advocate as a hate group.

"This case is about the defilement of a beautiful moment by a group known for demonizing the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender [LGBT] community," said Christine P. Sun, SPLC deputy legal director. "This was just a cheap way for Public Advocate to avoid having to pay for a stock photo to use in their hateful anti-gay attack ad. It was nothing short of theft."

The lawsuit was also filed on behalf of photographer Kristina Hill of Kristina Hill Photography, who owned the copyrighted photo.

Their photo had been posted on Edwards' personal blog and was originally set against the backdrop of the New York City skyline.

But the doctored photo showed the gay couple standing in a snowy Colorado setting and was used in a political campaign to attack a Republican who supported civil union legislation.

The tagline for the ad, which was sponsored by Public Advocate of the United States, was: "State Sen. Jean White's Idea of 'Family Values?'" White later lost the primary.

"I cringe every time I look at what once was one of our favorite photos," said Edwards, 32, in a statement from SPLC. "All I see now is the defiled image used to attack our family and our community. All we want is justice for the pain that Public Advocate has caused us. "

"We are heartbroken that our images may have been seen by gay and lesbian youth in Colorado and were left feeling ashamed of their sexual orientation because of it," Privitere, 37, said in the SPLC statement. "We hope that this group is held accountable for its reprehensible and hateful anti-gay attacks."

Privitere works in entertainment ticketing and lives with Edwards, a college administrator, in Montclair, N.J. The couple has been together for 12 years.

The SPLC sent a letter to Public Advocate and its president, Eugene Delgaudio, in July warning that it was investigating the case. The letter demanded confirmation that the group cease using the photo. Neither Delgaudio nor Public Advocate responded to the letter, according to SPLC.

Public Advocate, based in Falls Church, Va., never had permission to use the photo, according to Hill, who runs her own wedding photography business.

The couple learned the photo had been taken without authorization from a friend who saw it in a mailer from Sen. White and called them in June.

SPLC's criteria for listing hate groups is based on those who "demonize" a class of people with "misinformation and lies," according to Heidi Beirich, director of the SPLC Intelligence Project. Such groups include the Ku Klux Klan, anti-Semitic organizations, neo-Nazis and black supremacy groups.

"There are only a handful of anti-gay groups," said Beirich. "We don't list those who are against gay marriage or the Biblical prescription against gay marriage -- only the groups that are engaged in demonizing propaganda and lies about the gay community and basically lying about them to make them pariahs."

Previous campaigns by Public Advocate include:

A fundraising letter asking recipients to, "imagine a world where police allow homosexual adults to rape young boys on the streets?"

Comparing same-sex marriage to bestiality.

Suggesting having gays as Boy Scout leaders is, "the same as being an accessory to the rape of hundreds of boys."

Characterizing campaigns to stop anti-LGBT bullying as "requir[ing] schools to teach appalling homosexual acts ... force private and even religious schools to teach a pro-homosexual agenda."

Public Advocate president Eugene Delgaudio, who is head of the board of supervisors for Loudon County in Virginia, told ABC News in July that the ad campaigns are only "colorful language and hyperbole." He didn't respond to a request for comment Wednesday on the suit.

Edwards and Privitere hope the incident is a teachable moment.

"We want to use this as an opportunity to educate people and show them that a gay couple can and do have loving relationships," said Edwards.

"This sort of thing has a trickle-down effect," said Privitere. "I think of all the closeted gay high school students who got mail that day and felt disheartened that they would never have a family and the parents on the fence about whether to accept their gay child for who they are. That hurts.

"These people are spreading lies, and I want them [recipients of the mailers] to know they have our support," he added.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Sunday
Sep232012

Former Owner of Pittsburgh Pirates Comes Out

(NEW YORK) -- Kevin McClatchy, the former owner of the Pittsburgh Pirates, has an announcement: He’s gay.

After years of soul searching and hiding his sexuality, McClatchy, now 49, came out to the New York Times.

In the interview, McClatchy, who was the public face of the Pirates for 11 years, said that he felt obligated to go public.

“I’ve spent 30 years — or whatever the number is specifically — not talking about my personal life, lying about my personal life,” he said. “There’s no way I want to go into the rest of my existence and ever have to hide my personal life again.”

McClatchy, who lives with his partner of four years, Jack Basilone, is one of only a handful of people in professional sports to come out. Indeed, despite the fact that gays and lesbians are openly portrayed on television shows, and President Obama has expressed support for gay marriage, few athletes talk about their own sexual preferences. No active male football, baseball, basketball or hockey player has come out publicly.

But some have come out after the fact; Among them is Rick Welts, the former president and chief executive of the Phoenix Suns, and current president and Chief Operating Officer of the Golden State Warriors basketball team. Wade Davis, a retired NFL cornerback, also came out publicly and works with lesbian, gay and transgender youth in New York.

“You just want to be one of the guys, and you don’t want to lose that sense of family,” Davis told Outsports.com. “Your biggest fear is that you’ll lose that camaraderie and family.

Even those simply in favor of legalizing same-sex marriage catch flack, as Baltimore Ravens linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo recently discovered, after he  posted a video on YouTube backing Maryland’s November’s ballot initiative to legalize same-sex marriage and donated football tickets to a fundraiser for Marylanders for Marriage Equality.

His actions caught the attention of a Maryland state delegate, Emmett C. Burns Jr., who is against gay marriage.  Burns sent a letter to the Ravens’ owner, Steve Bisciotti, urging him to “inhibit such expressions from your employee and that he be ordered to cease and desist such injurious actions.”

His letter was so vitriolic that it inspired Minnesota Vikings punter Chris Kluwe to write a scathing response on Deadspin.com.

“I can assure you that gay people getting married will have zero effect on your life,” Kluwe wrote. “They won’t come into your house and steal your children … They won’t even overthrow the government in an orgy of hedonistic debauchery because all of a sudden they have the same legal rights as the other 90 percent of our population — rights like Social Security benefits, child care tax credits, Family and Medical Leave to take care of loved ones, and COBRA healthcare for spouses and children.”

Last week, Toronto Blue Jays shortstop Yunel Escobar was suspended for wearing eyeblack tape on which he had scribbled an anti-gay slur.

McClatchy, who is now the chairman of the board of the McClatchy Company, which publishes more than two dozen newspapers, said he expects some people to react negatively to his announcement.

“I’m sure people will criticize me because I came out later, and I should have come out while I was in baseball and in the thick of it,” he told The Times.

But he said he’s willing to rake the risk. “You’re not going to solve any problem until you start a dialogue, and there’s no dialogue right now.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Sep122012

College Football Player Says He Was Axed from Team for Gay Kiss

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(WAHPETON, N.D.) -- A gay North Dakota freshman linebacker believes he was kicked off his university football team for kissing his much-older boyfriend at a game.

Before the incident, Jamie Kuntz, 18, was playing football for North Dakota State College of Sciences in Wahpeton on a partial scholarship.

He was recovering from a concussion over Labor Day weekend so his coach sent him to the press box to videotape the game against Snow College in Pueblo, Colo.

Kuntz's boyfriend, who lives in Colorado, came to the game and was sitting in the press box with him. At halftime, Kuntz's team was losing 49-3 and he went down to the locker room to hear the coach's halftime talk.

He returned to the press box after the talk and said he shared a kiss with his boyfriend in between plays.

"It wasn't a peck, but it wasn't a hardcore makeout session," Kuntz told ABC News. "It was in between."

When he boarded the bus to return to North Dakota, his coach pulled him off the bus. The coach told him that people had told him that Kuntz was a "distraction" the whole game.

"He asked me what happened in the press box and I played dumb. I said, 'I don't know what you're talking about,'" Kuntz said.

When pressed, he lied and told his coach that it was his grandfather that was in the press box with him. Kuntz's boyfriend is 65 years old. The conversation ended and Kuntz boarded the bus. On the way home, he said he felt like other players were laughing at him, but he did not know why.

Kuntz said a few close friends knew about his sexuality, but he had not come out to his team or his family.

When asked why he lied to the coach, Kuntz said, "I wasn't out at all and that's a lot to unload on somebody on a question like that. I was kind of scared I would get kicked off if I told him the right answer."

But when the team got back to North Dakota, Kuntz felt guilty about lying and came clean to the coach about who the man in the press box was.

On Monday, he was dismissed from the football team after a meeting with his coach.

"I was shocked. I didn't think I was going to get kicked off the team," Kuntz said. "There could have been extra conditioning. There's always something that could have been done [instead]."

Soon after, he withdrew from the school.

"I chose to leave," he said. "The only reason I went there was for football."

Kuntz strongly believes that he was kicked off of the team because of his sexuality. He believes that had he been kissing a woman in the press box, even an older woman, the outcome would have been different. He said he probably would have been "congratulated for it" by his teammates, if it had been a woman.

The school vehemently denies that Kuntz was dismissed from the team for the kiss.

"It had nothing to do with his sexual orientation. Nothing," university spokeswoman Barbara Spaeth-Baum told ABC News. "He wasn't doing a task that he was assigned to do. On top of that, he lied about what he was doing or not doing, meaning not fulfilling his task."

Spaeth-Baum said that Kuntz was told that he could keep his scholarship even if he was not on the team, but that he chose to leave.

"Our staff is trained and they certainly know what those reasons are and are fair to everyone involved," she said.

The university said in a statement that Kuntz was "dismissed from the team for a violation of the football team rules."

The school's 2012 Player's Manual says, "The head coach reserves the right to dismiss any team member for any conduct that is deemed detrimental to the team."

The list of "possible dismissible behavior" includes "lying to Coaches, Teachers or other school staff," in addition to criminal violations, fighting and repeated absence or tardiness.

Just one month into his college football career, Kuntz found himself having to drop three bombshells on his family--he was kicked off the team, he left the school and he was gay.

"I think they were more upset about me getting kicked off the team than anything else," he said.

When he told his family about his 65-year-old boyfriend, he said, "My mom was the only one that was rough with that."

But Kuntz said that she is supportive of him and has now accepted his boyfriend. He recognizes that people may find the 47-year age difference between him and his boyfriend "sketchy," but he said the year-long relationship is genuine.

"I know it's weird to tell people," he said. "I don't know if I was looking for a father figure right away or a mentor, but it's passed that now."

The two met through an online dating site, Kuntz said, and have spent time together several times over the past year. Kuntz did not want to disclose his boyfriend's identity to protect his privacy. He said his boyfriend "felt awful" about the fallout from the kiss.

Kuntz's main concern now is getting back to football. His plan was to play at North Dakota State College for a few years before transitioning to a Division 1 school. He currently has no plans to sue the school.

"I'm not worried about a lawsuit, I'm worried about getting back to a deal in college and playing football," he said. "I would rather still be playing, getting ready for this game on Saturday."

But he hopes that his newfound notoriety will be helpful to others.

"My story is out there so hopefully this doesn't happen to someone else," Kuntz said. "I may be a voice for somebody who doesn't want to come out."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Monday
Aug202012

Gay Man Told to Marry Woman or Son Would Lose Inheritance

Hemera/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- The gay son of a deceased New York City businessman is fighting a stipulation in his late father's will that required him to marry the mother of his child or risk losing the child's inheritance.

Robert Mandelbaum, who is a Manhattan Criminal Court judge, said in court documents that his father, Frank Mandelbaum, knew he was gay and included his male partner in family activities. The elder Mandelbaum died in 2007 at the age of 73.

Mandelbaum, who amassed a fortune after founding the ID-verification firm Intellicheck, died before his grandson, Cooper, now 16 months, was born.

Cooper's fathers, Robert Mandelbaum and Jonathan O'Donnell, married shortly after his birth via surrogate in 2011. It's unclear which of the men is Cooper's biological father.

The late businessman's will left behind a $180,000 trust for his grandchildren, including those who would be born after his death. The heirs will receive installments from ages 25 to 30, although the amounts will be contingent on the performance of the investment.

But Cooper will not be eligible for his inheritance because he has two dads, according to the terms of the will.

The words "child," "grandchild" and "descendant" include natural and adopted children and children born out of wedlock, according to the will, which was filed in Manhattan Surrogate's Court.

"However, such words shall specifically not include an adopted child of Robert, if adopted while Robert is a single person, or a biological child of Robert, if Robert shall not be married to the child's mother within six months of the child's birth," the will states.

Robert Mandelbaum is challenging the will on the basis that it would require him to enter into a "sham marriage" which would violate New York marriage-equality law.

Attorney Anne Bederka wrote that the stipulation Robert Mandelbaum marry a woman was "tantamount to expecting him either to live in celibacy, or to engage in extramarital activity with another man, and is therefore contrary to public policy."

"There is no doubt that what [Frank Mandelbaum] has sought to do is induce Robert to marry a woman," Bederka wrote.

A settlement has not yet been approved by the Manhattan Surrogate's Court.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Jul172012

Boy Scouts Reaffirm Ban on Gays

Eliot J. Schechter/NHLI via Getty Images(IRVING, Texas) -- The Boy Scouts of America on Tuesday reaffirmed its policy of excluding gays from joining or being leaders – a decision that’s disappointing gay rights groups.

A special committee of Scout executive and adult volunteers formed in 2010 concluded unanimously that the anti-gay policy was “in the best interest” of the 100-year-old organization.

The Scouts is one of the largest youth organizations in the country with 2.7 million members and more than 1 million adult volunteers.

Zach Wahls, an Eagle Scout and son of Iowa lesbians who has been outspoken in the issue, today accused the organization of basing their decision on a committee of "11 unelected, unnamed bureaucrats."

"Why not put out a call and make it a democratic process?" he said to ABC News. "Why have a secretive committee make the decision?"

"I believe the vast majority of Scout families do not support their policy on excluding gays and if that is the case, they picked an awfully interesting way of affirming that in their report," said Wahls.

"It's disappointing," he said. "The first value of the Scout's law, is a scout is trustworthy and this process does not sound trustworthy. We don't know who the people are -- they are not named and they are not willing to accept responsibility for their actions."

But the Scouts' chief executive, Bob Mazzuca, said that both leaders and Scouts overwhelmingly support the policy.

"The vast majority of the parents of youth we serve value their right to address issues of same-sex orientation within their family, with spiritual advisers and at the appropriate time and in the right setting," Mazzuca said. "We fully understand that no single policy will accommodate the many diverse views among our membership or society."

Just this week AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson, executive board member of the Boy Scouts of America, said he was committed to ending the ban. He takes over as president in 2012, according to Wahls.

"Things are changing," said Wahls. "He will be one of the three most powerful men in the organization."

The exclusion policy was challenged in 2000, but the U.S. Supreme Court sided with the Boy Scouts of America, ruling 5-4 that the organization was exempt from state laws that bar anti-gay discrimination.

The court overturned a ruling by the New Jersey Supreme Court to require a troop to readmit a longtime gay scoutmaster who had been dismissed.

The Girl Scouts of America has had a diversity policy and non-discrimination clause since 1980.

GLAAD President Herndon Graddick expressed dismay over the decision.

"With organizations including the Girl Scouts of the USA, the Boys & Girls Club and the U.S. military allowing gay Americans to participate, the Boy Scouts of America need to find a way to treat all children and their parents fairly," said Graddick in a prepared statement.

"Until this ban is lifted, the Scouts are putting parents in a situation where they have to explain to their children why some scouts and hard-working scout leaders are being turned away simply because of who they are. It's unfair policies like this that contribute to a climate of bullying in our schools and communities. Since when is that a value worth teaching young adults?"

The president of the largest U.S. gay-rights group, Chad Griffin, of the Human Rights Campaign, depicted the Scouts' decision as "a missed opportunity of colossal proportions."

"With the country moving toward inclusion, the leaders of the Boy Scouts of America have instead sent a message to young people that only some of them are valued," he said. "They've chosen to teach division and intolerance."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Jun262012

Gay Military Members Honored in First-Ever Pentagon Ceremony

Digital Vision/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- For the first time ever, the Defense Department held a ceremony honoring homosexual and transgender service members in honor of Gay Pride Month at the Pentagon.

President Obama and Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta each sent a taped video message for the standing-room only event.

“Before the repeal of Don’t ask Don’t Tell you faithfully served  your country with professionalism and courage. And just like your fellow service members, you put your country before yourself,” said Panetta. “And now after repeal you can be proud of serving your country and be proud of who you are when in uniform.”

Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, the law that required gay men and women members of the military to hide their sexual orientation, was repealed more than a year ago. The Defense Department did an extensive study before the appeal was implemented to try and gauge the potential impacts of the law’s repeal on morale.

Tuesday’s program featured a panel discussion with a small group of gay servicemen and women who said that they were surprised most of their colleagues haven’t treated them any differently in the last year.  The biggest change, the panel said, has been how they feel about themselves now that they no longer have to choose between serving their country and being themselves.

“The president hosted a reception at his house, you know the white one,” Marine Captain Matthew Phelps said jokingly before reflecting on what that invitation meant. "And I thought, 'how amazing is it over the course of a year that I could go from being fired for being who I am to having champagne with the commander-in-chief.'”

Jeh Johnson, the Pentagon’s top attorney who was one of the officials in charge of conducting the DADT survey, said that many service members, particularly of the younger generation, didn’t understand the controversy with homosexuality in the military in the first place.

Johnson said one soldier told him, “We have a gay guy, he’s big, he’s mean and he kills lots of bad guys. We don’t care that he’s gay.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio