After years of bitter debate, and generations of military tradition, repeal of the 18-year-old “don’t ask, don’t tell” law went into effect at 12:01 a.m. For the first time, soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines were free to declare their sexual orientation without risking being thrown out of the military. And many rushed to do so. The result, for supporters, at least, was an outpouring of euphoria and relief that some compared to the end of racial segregation in the military in the 1950s or the admittance of women to the service academies in the 1970s. Supporters planned celebrations in all 50 states.
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Gay military members come out and celebrate