It’s appropriate that Commander Tate Westbrook referenced the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell on Saturday, when the USS Spruance was officially commissioned as a Navy destroyer in Key West. The Florida town has been a gay paradise for decades—and has had ties to the Navy since the 19th century.
“The promise from Navy leadership in this meritocracy is that any sailor, regardless of background, race, gender or sexual preference, has the opportunity to go as far as they can in this great Navy based on their work ethic, intelligence, aptitude and commitment,” Westbrook said in his speech.
Among those present at the ceremony were U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (FL-R)—the first Republican co-sponsor of the DOMA-repealing Respect for Marriage Act—and out artist David Harrison Wright, who painted the Spruance‘s official portrait. “What the commander said was meaningful. After all these years, I couldn’t believe I heard that at an official military ceremony,” Wright told the Miami Herald.
Image via U.S. Navy