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|Gay man discharged under 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' named Presidential Inauguration citizen co-chair|
|by Lisa Keen|
|January 17, 2013 12:58|
The Presidential Inauguration Committee announced Thursday (January 17) that an openly gay veteran of the Air Force will be among the eight “Citizen Co-Chairs” for President Obama’s second inaugural ceremony.
David Hall, an official with Outserve-SLDN who helped with the successful effort to repeal the Don’t Ask Don’t Tell law banning open gays from the military, was chosen as one of eight Americans to “reflect the core values of this Administration and the theme of the 57th Presidential Inauguration: Our People. Our Future.”
Presidential Inauguration Committee Executive Director David Cusack issued a statement saying each of the eight co-chairs was selected for his or her “extraordinary contributions to their communities.”
The co-chairs will participate in Saturday’s National Day of Service, attend an official inaugural ball, and, on Inauguration Day, will ride on an official inaugural parade float entitled “Our People, Our Future” float.
The other seven co-chairs include a nurse, a wind energy businessman, a woman fighting a brain tumor, a Purple Heart veteran of Afghanistan, a single mother, a woman who regained her job after 13 months of unemployment, and the co-founder of a home rebuilding effort in post-Katrina New Orleans.
Hall is development director and information technology manager for Outserve-Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, an organization that played a key role in orchestrating support for repeal of DADT in 2010. Hall joined the SLDN staff in 2006.
According to the Outserve-SLDN website, Hall joined the Air Force in 1996 and was assigned to Langley Air Force Base in Hampton, Virginia, as a weapons loader. He served a brief stint in the Middle East and was later assigned to Elmendorf Air Force Base in Anchorage, Alaska, where he then graduated from Airman Leadership School.
At the rank of Staff Sergeant, Hall was accepted for the Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) in 2001 and earned a slot in the pilot training program in 2002. But, as the PIC press release notes, Hall was “dis-enrolled” from the ROTC pilot program in 2002 after a fellow cadet told his commanders that he is gay.
“This is certainly the honor of a lifetime, and I am grateful to President Obama for his leadership in repealing ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ so that no qualified American who wants to serve this country in uniform will ever again be denied that right simply because they are gay or lesbian,” said Hall in a media release issued by Outserve-SLDN.
In addition to Hall, the Presidential Inauguration Monday, January 21, will include the presentation of a poem on the inaugural stage by openly gay poet Richard Blanco of Maine. The inauguration parade will include a contingent of the Lesbian and Gay Band Association.
Top photo: President Barack Obama (official photo)
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