From the Revolutionary War to the conflicts of the present day, gay and lesbian Americans, unacknowledged patriots, have fought, bled and died defending the ideals upon which this nation was founded, even while they, themselves, were being denied those fundamental rights of liberty and equality.
For these women and men, however, there has been no peacetime; there has been no cease-fire. Every day and every night they have fought-and still fight-a second battle to overcome the ignorance, fear, bigotry and hatred of too many of their fellow comrades, their superiors, and their politicians. Some have needlessly died. Countless others have been foolishly wasted by a military establishment so concerned about maintaining a mythical image of itself, that it has failed to notice the deeper wounds it inflicts: compromising its own combat effectiveness, undermining its institutional integrity, and senselessly destroying the lives of its most dedicated members.
Despite irrefutable evidence of service to country with honor and distinction, they have been-and still remain-Unwanted Patriots, permitted to serve only when the reality of their presence and their honor can be denied. It is time for this denial to end. It is time for America to embrace reality, and set the record straight.