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DADT Repeal Advocate CAPT Joan E. Darrah Celebrates Her Marriage Against the Backdrop of Historic Victory

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Dec 20, 2010

CAPT Joan E. Darrah, USN (Ret) (pictured right) with her wife, Lynne, is Board Chair at Mount Vernon Unitarian Church in Alexandria, Va

CAPT Joan E. Darrah, USN (Ret)J (pictured right) with her life partner, Lynne, is Board Chair at Mount Vernon Unitarian Church in Alexandria, Va

I have the honor of being the Board Chair at the Mount Vernon Unitarian Church, in Alexandria, Va. On Friday December 17th, after 20 years together, my partner, Lynne Kennedy, and I — with about 20 family members and close friends, and our Minister, Kate Walker — went into Washington DC to the Albert Einstein Memorial to get married. It was a small, but, wonderful opportunity for us to publicly and officially declare our love and lifelong support for each other.

The next day, Saturday the 18th, we had invited over 200 people (they all showed up!) to our home to help celebrate our first day of marriage, our 20th anniversary and my upcoming 60th Birthday. At 3 o’clock, we were given the biggest reason ever to celebrate – the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.

After years and years of hard work and dogged determination by thousands of people who knew the injustice of this law, DADT is finally on its way out. UU’s around the Country should be proud of their role in this victory. The Action of Immediate Witness adopted at the 2007 General Assembly calling for the Repeal of DADT was drafted and submitted by the Mount Vernon Unitarian Church.

It is an honor to be affiliated with an organization that not only has strong values but has the courage and commitment to live these values.

This is a truly historic event for our Country and our military! This is the beginning of the end of DADT, a blatantly un-American law that for years has forced honorable gay men and women to live a lie. As a Naval officer who served for 29 1/2 years, much of it under DADT, I know firsthand how incredibly difficult this has been for the tens of thousands of American service members who have been living under this dreadful law.

I am totally confident that our military men and women will adapt easily to this change and that, in the long run, our military and our Country will be stronger.

In my experience, the skin color or religion or ethnic background or gender or sexual orientation of my shipmates was never an issue; what mattered was their ability and commitment to accomplish the mission at hand. Soon, honorable Americans who are willing to make the ultimate sacrifice for their Country will no longer be forced to serve in silence. The impact of this change will be felt throughout the Country. Finally, we will stop sending a message to our young people that because they are gay, our country’s military does not want their service, regardless of their ability or skills.

This is a momentous day in the history of our great Country. Thank you all for your part in this historic victory!!

-CAPT Joan E. Darrah, USN (Ret) Board Chair, Mount Vernon Unitarian Church, Alexandria, VA

Editor’s note: CAPT Joan E. Darrah deserves major credit for her tremendous work over the years to end DADT. Click below to see more of her story, featured on NBC Nightly News.

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

8 Responses to “DADT Repeal Advocate CAPT Joan E. Darrah Celebrates Her Marriage Against the Backdrop of Historic Victory”

  1. Jack Miller says:

    What a great wedding gift! I am so happy for both of you!! Certainly won’t be ANY excuse to forget your anniversery!!

  2. Mica Lorenz says:

    And you make us proud to be Unitarian Universalists!

  3. Gary Ryan says:

    Joan, Congratulations, my firend!! May you and Lynne have the happiest of times and a long and prosperous life together. I think of you often and wonder if you still have Boxers?

  4. Joan says:

    Gary. Thanks for your note. Yes, we still have KD – thanks to you, her ears are perfect. The e-mail I have for you doesn’t work please let me know how you are. My e-mail is the same JEDARRAH@AOL.COM. Hugs, Joan

  5. David Reno says:

    I believe we met at General Assembly. You told a story of how you had been in an office of the Pentagon fifteen minutes before it was attacked. Had you been there your life partner could not have received any benefits.
    Congradulations on your marriage and the repeal of DADT. After your speech we spoke briefly. I tried to understand the policy that you could work with civilian gay people but not admit it yourself. The more we talked the more confused I got. I felt like a young English girl following a white rabbitt down a hole. Things kept getting curiouser and curiouser.

    Was the policy created by the late Frantz Kafka or Joseph Heller?

    I also thank you for contributing a more precise term to the debate. She is your “life partner.” What an excellent description! I always wondered if the person partner was business, legal, or gay. With this term you have clairified the debate.

  6. Rev. Jan Carlsson-Bull says:

    Joan and Lynne–

    Congratulations to you upon your marriage and upon this milestone of the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell. I recall well when you both approached the Commission on Social Witness booth at GA 2007 with your proposed Action of Immediate Witness on repealing DADT. We spoke for quite awhile, and I remarked then that your proposed AIW was timely, doable, and the most clearly written, well-organized, well-sourced AIW I’d ever seen! Should I have been surprised? Not at all.

    Together, the two of you have accomplished so much, not the least of which is your sustained love for one another and your perseverance on behalf of this policy change that brings our nation’s military out of the closet into the light of day!

    Love to you both,

    Rev. Dr. Jan Carlsson-Bull
    Interim Minister
    Unitarian Universalist Congregation of the Catskills
    Kingston, NY

  7. Joan says:

    Jan, Thanks so much for your good wishes and wonderfully positive response. We will always remember how supportive and enthusiastic you were when we were working on our AIW. It was so great to hear from you we wish you good things in the year ahead. Big Hugs, Joan and Lynne

  8. Dear Joan,

    This is off topic but I continually look for women who served in any service during some or all of the years 1976-1983 to interview for my oral history project on women in the military. These were critical transition years and I am passionate about saving these stories. If you would be willing to be interviewed please contact me at jafarringer@yahoo.com or go to my website http://www.amidlifebooksandpoetry.com and click on the women in the military button. Thanks. -Janice Farringer

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