The Vice President just made an important point about West Point’s out gay Class of 2016 president
Vice President Joe Biden has saluted out gay US Military Academy’s 2016 class president.
Biden made the comments speaking to the US Military Academy’s 2016 class on Saturday, and noted that Eugene ‘EJ’ Coleman would not have been able to serve openly in the military before the repeal of don’t ask don’t tell.
He said more diversity makes the country’s military stronger.
“Having men and women together in the battlefield is an incredible asset, particularly when they’re asked to lead teams in parts of the world with fundamentally different expectations and norms,” Biden said.
He made a speech at the Michie Stadium at West Point as nearly a thousand cadets received degrees.
Class president EJ Coleman was hailed by the Vice President for publicly coming out as gay.
Before the US’s don’t ask, don’t tell was repealed in 2010, “E.J. would have been discharged from the Army, and we would have lost an incredible talent,” Biden said.
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“Thanks for your courage, EJ, and I expect we’re going to hear big things from you, pal.”
The US Senate this week finally agreed the appointment of the first openly gay official to head a branch of the Armed Forces.
Back in September, the White House nominated Eric Fanning to serve as the US Secretary of the Army.
The nomination of Mr Fanning – already the highest ranking openly gay member of the Department of Defense – is hugely poignant, just six years after out soldiers were welcomed for the first time.
The decision spent months stalled in the US Congress with no movement – with Kansas Republican Pat Roberts blocking his appointment for political reasons – which had nothing to do with Fanning or his sexual orientation.
Meanwhile, right-wing news sites have been defending a retired general who made a “joke” about using violence to put off trans women who use women’s bathrooms.