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A Kiss Is Not Enough


Danny Ingram
President, American Veterans For Equal Rights

The ban has been lifted and the Youtube video of a United States Marine passionately kissing his boyfriend upon returning from deployment has spread around the world without the Pentagon collapsing.  "Mission Accomplished?"  Hardly.  Ending DADT is a huge success, but there is still much work to be done before LGBT service members and vets can defend our nation in full equality.  Transgender Americans still cannot serve.  And gay, lesbian, and bisexual service members cannot get benefits for their partners and families, benefits which make up a huge percentage of an overall compensation  to which they have no access.  The fight for equality is not over, and AVER will continue the effort to allow trans patriots the right to serve in the military and ensure that LGB service members are not considered equal just because they can no longer be fired for being who they are. 

The very last people who should discriminate against others are those few and proud people who have sworn an oath to defend the United States Constitution.  That solemn oath of enlistment is a sacred promise to defend all the constitution, and nothing but the constitution.  The constitution is clear that no state will issue a law that denies equality to American citizens.  AVER must continue to push the defenders of liberty to honor their oath.  Inequality is un-American.  Period.  Are we willing to sit back now with the victory of repeal and allow America to be threatened by individuals who put their personal beliefs before their loyalty to our nation?  They may have that option.  We do not.  We swore an oath.

AVER should be on the cutting edge of the fight for LGBT Americans to marry.  Why?  Because we swore an oath to defend the words that are our liberty.  And those words are clear.  Equality cannot be redefined to mean anything other than the same rights as everyone else.  When will America have equality?  When every citizen has the same equal rights as every other citizen.  That is not the reality in our nation now, and those individuals who wish to raise discrimination to a proud virtue are dangerous enemies of America and an offense to our liberty.  They dishonor their oath to defend the constitution, whether on the battlefield or the Capitol Hill, and they dishonor the sacrifices of every Soldier, Sailor, Marine, Airman, or Coast Guardsman who has ever given his or her life in the defense of those words which are clear to anyone who cares to understand what they say.  

The fight is not over.  There is still much work to do.  We are tired and many of us would like to take a well deserved and much needed leave.  I know.  I need it as much as anyone.  But we must not stop now.  We're not just holding the line anymore, we're on the offensive.  And we need everyone with us, just as we did when we began this long and painful push for freedom.  Please stay in the fight.  What we fight for is not just the right of LGB and T Americans to serve in the military.  Nor is it just for the right of same gender couples to access the equal rights and protections of marriage.  It is about the very clear, honorable, and sacred words that make America, America.  Our enemies will never yield the field.  They will simply fall back behind the bulwark of one issue after another until they find the next one which no group is willing to fight. And they will simply bide their time until they can charge back out again under a new and more acceptable banner.  But the words of the constitution will still be the same, and those words will always be worth defending.  Please continue to honor your oath.  Continue to defend those words that define America, those words which clearly say that in the United States of America, equality will only be defined, can only be defined, by equal rights for every American.

Danny Ingram

  2012 Gay Military Signal