A round of applause, everyone! For the first time since the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” the US Army has promoted an openly gay soldier to the rank of General. Tammy S. Smith was promoted from Colonel to Brigadier General last Friday in a ceremony in Washington D.C.; her wife, Tracey Hepner, affixed Smith’s General’s star to her uniform. Following Congress’s repeal of DADT in December 2010, Smith and Hepner married in March 2011, although the formal end of DADT by the Pentagon wasn’t implemented until September of that year. Despite predictions by the Christian right, the promotion failed to cause Planet Earth to spin out of orbit into the sun.
Needless to say, it’s highly improbable that Smith is truly the first gay flag-rank officer in the military; she’s merely the first that the military has publicly acknowledged and who can simply say that she’s gay without her career being endangered. Sue Fulton of OutServe, a coalition of gay and lesbian service members, said “Once we get over each ‘first,’ each hurdle of ‘Well, that’s never been done before,’ it makes it a nonissue going forward.” So congratulations, Gaymerica, on this latest step on the road to the coveted status of No Big Deal. Consider how the story is presented in the military newspaper Stars and Stripes — it’s news, but not a cause for freaking out, and the comments are largely congratulatory despite the presence of a few trolls.
For a change, Your Wonkette is just going with the feel-good side of this story. We know that wingnuts and homophobes are proclaiming this one more sign of impending doom, and yes, there’s already plenty of online ugliness commenting on it, but it’s not worth the agita to link to ’em. (Oh, OK — just one anger porn comment: A Freeper said the General and her wife are a “Couple of ugly man-broads.” So, yay, they are Olympians too now? They rule!) Rest assured, the minute Bryan Fissure says something suitably stupid about it, we’ll run a follow-up. For now, we’re happy to just celebrate the milestone.