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"Don't ask, don't tell" policy ends

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By Eileen Buckley

http://stream.publicbroadcasting.net/production/mp3/wbfo/local-wbfo-986893.mp3

Jamestown, NY – The military's long standing "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy has ended. This means that gay and lesbian Americans no longer have to hide their status as members of the U.S. Military.

Greg Rabb is an openly gay Jamestown City Council member. He's also an associate professor at Jamestown Community College.

Rabb applauds the end to this policy that's been in place since 1993. Rabb is now hoping this offers new found freedom to members of the Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community and begins to erase fears of future discrimination.

"An historic day in Americas advance toward full civil rights for gay and lesbian people, so I'm really excited," said Rabb.

The policy was designed to prevent discrimination or harassment. A Congressional bill to repeal the policy was approved last December and this past July, President Obama formally certified it would end.

"From talking to the people I know in the military, they've been ready for this for years. It wasn't their idea it was certain people in the leadership who thought having gay and lesbian people in the military was a problem," said Rabb.

Rabb is also thrilled that Jamestown Community College will now be able to welcome back military recruiters to its campus.

"Coming this October, I sent out a message to my colleagues and I know the college is fully embracing this, that we will be welcoming military recruiters back to the campus for the first time, in gosh I don't know how many years, when we first banned them because of their policy of discrimination," noted Rabb.

Rabb said the new generation of students tend to be surprised to learn of such a policy. He said they've grown up in a world where being gay or lesbian is not hidden, clearly a generational change since the early 1990's.