A female Iraq veteran whose children can use her benefits and whose wife can receive her flag at her funeral.
A man who gave up his dream of joining the military because he was gay, and another who kept his relationship with a man secret so he could serve.
These were among the stories shared on Tuesday when President Obama released letters he had received from gay members of the military thanking the president for repealing the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy exactly five years ago. Mr. Obama promised in a corresponding Facebook post that he would spend the remainder of his presidency looking for ways to combat discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Americans.
“I couldn’t be prouder of what we’ve accomplished together,” the president said in the post. “But our work is not finished. From the boardroom to the locker room, L.G.B.T. Americans still face prejudice in their daily lives.”
He said he would “spend every minute I have left as president working with you to move our country even closer to our founding ideals.”
Mr. Obama’s victory lap on the “don’t ask, don’t tell” anniversary came amid criticism from some Republicans and conservatives that he has not done enough to support the military. Conservative news outlets reacted with outrage on Monday after the president allowed himself to be photographed celebrating a golf shot at the start of his two-week Hawaiian vacation, but did not make any comments to the news media about the death just hours earlier of six American soldiers in a suicide attack in Afghanistan.
“Obama Goes Golfing After Terrorism Attack in Afghanistan Kills Six American Solders,” the conservative website Breitbart declared in a headline.
The four letters, which the White House posted on Tumblr, were from military service members who thanked Mr. Obama for undoing the policy that barred gay people from serving openly. The president said he had received hundreds of similar letters.
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