Newspaper article International New York Times

An Openly Gay Man Runs the Army

Newspaper article International New York Times

An Openly Gay Man Runs the Army

Article excerpt

Looking back, the fight over whether gay Americans should be allowed to serve in uniform was senseless, almost absurd.

Last week an openly gay man, Eric Fanning, became secretary of the Army. Read that sentence again and contemplate what it reveals about how much and how quickly American society has changed. Only five years ago, openly gay people were barred from serving in its armed forces. During Mr. Fanning's lengthy confirmation process, his sexual orientation was simply not an issue. That is a tribute to those who fought so hard to repeal the ban, and a measure of the nation's at times uncertain, but as yet unfailing, march toward equality.

In retrospect the fight that convulsed this country over whether gay Americans should serve in uniform seems senseless, almost absurd. Yet it is instructive, if only because a Pentagon plan to allow transgender Americans to serve openly in uniform remains stalled by a similar, albeit quieter, debate. There is broad agreement that prohibiting openly gay people from serving was a cruel policy that abetted bigotry. …

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