A Veteran’s Story
November 11, 2011
Each Veterans Day, I remember the proudest moment of my life: when I stood up in front of family and friends, raised my right hand and made a vow to defend my country. It was nearly 20 years ago on an otherwise unremarkable November day that began what was to be an amazing six-year adventure serving in the Air Force.
This Veterans Day, I am asking you to stand with me and other veterans and support Freedom to Marry’s work to overturn the so-called Defense of Marriage Act. Because of DOMA, servicemembers, veterans, and their families still experience discrimination while serving our country. Will you make a donation today in their honor?
I know first-hand how it feels to be treated differently in the military. Halfway through my enlistment, I came to terms with the fact that I am a gay man. Serving under Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, I became immediately aware of the dangers of my sexual orientation -- losing a job I loved and the only life I knew.
After serving in silence for a number of years, I knew that I could not continue to work and prosper under such a discriminatory policy. I had no choice but to leave the Air Force. Shortly after, I started on a new path, attending college on the GI Bill, starting my career in non-profit management, and, so luckily, falling in love.
In 2008, I found myself living what would be the next “proudest moment of my life”. It also took place on an otherwise unremarkable November day when I again stood up before friends and family. But this time it was to vow to love and honor my husband for the rest of my life.
We were one of the lucky 18,000 couples that got married in California before the passage of Prop 8. Within days we went from the joy and elation of celebrating our wedding to watching as voters stripped away the freedom to marry in California.
In that moment my life changed forever and I became an activist, dedicating all my strengths toward one goal: equality. But whether or not I am successful in my new mission is dependent on you. We both know the harsh truth: Our triumphs can only be achieved if we secure the resources we need to make our case. Can you help us make sure we have the dollars we need to win this battle?
As a community, we’ve made incredible strides over the past year. And when he signed the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” repeal bill into law, President Obama honored the sacrifices of so many who had served in silence all these years.
And yet families that are putting their lives on the line for our country still continue to be treated differently, which means we have much more work to do.
I hope you will join me by making a donation today.