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With promotion, U.S. Army welcomes first openly gay general

• latimes.com By Laura J. Nelson
 

With that simple gesture, Brig. Gen. Tammy Smith became the country's first openly gay general.

The promotion of Smith, the highest-ranking gay or lesbian to acknowledge his or her sexual orientation while serving, comes less than a year after the repeal of “don't ask, don't tell,” the policy that banned gays and lesbians from serving openly in the military.

Since the reversal last September, the relationship between the government and the armed forces has shifted to include more outreach to LGBT service members.

Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta posted a YouTube video thanking gay service members and praising the ban’s repeal.

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