President Barack Obama marked the fifth anniversary of his lifting the ban on gays openly serving in the military the same week that one of the first lesbians to openly serve was killed in Afghanistan.
Air Force Major Adrianna Vorderbruggen was among six killed Monday by a Taliban suicide bomber near Bagram air base in Afghanistan. She was among the first openly gay members to marry, and is survived by her spouse Heather and son Jacob in the Washington, D.C. area.
Since the Clinton era, gays were allowed to serve in the military, but not openly, until Obama signed the repeal of the "Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” law on December 22, 2010.
“Five years ago today, I signed a bipartisan bill repealing ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ – extending our country’s promise of equality to those who protect it every day,” Obama said in a Facebook post. “Today, Americans can serve the country they love no matter who they love, and openly gay, lesbian and bisexual men and women in uniform make our military stronger and America safer.”
The LGBT group Military Partners and Families Coalition noted the timing of the death in a Facebook post.
“As today marks five years since the repeal of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ was signed, we honor the anniversary with somber hearts and the knowledge that families like Major Vorderbruggen’s no longer serve in the shadows,” the organization’s post said.