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News Link • Military

Say Hello To The US Army's First Openly Gay General

•, Billy Hallowell
 At her pinning ceremony last week, she became the first openly-gay general to serve in the Army — and the overall military’s — ranks.

This development comes after the military dropped its “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy last year. During a ceremony on Friday, Smith’s wife, activist Tracey Hepner, pinned on her star, publicly acknowledging Smith’s sexuality and open devotion to another female. In a press release put out by the Defense Department, Smith said that “participating with family in traditional ceremonies such as the promotion is both common and expected of a leader.”

As far as her distinction as being the first gay general, Smith openly pushed her historic standing aside.

“All of those facts are irrelevant,” Smith said of her sexuality, according to Stars and Stripes. “I don’t think I need to be focused on that. What is relevant is upholding Army values and the responsibility this carries.”
According to The New York Times, Smith and Hepner got married in March 2011 in the District of Columbia. Hepner is the co-founder of the Militaries Partners and Families Coalition, a non-profit organization that “provides support, resources, education and advocacy for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender military partners and their families.”

“The support we’ve received has been amazing,” Hepner said of the chatter surrounding Smith’s openness. “I wasn’t surprised that people were so accepting, but in some cases it has been even celebratory.”

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