Jared Polis, a Colorado Democrat who last year became the first openly gay non-incumbent elected to Congress, took his place Friday on the U.S. Air Force Academy's supervisory board.
He is thought to be the first openly gay member serving on an oversight board at any service academy.
The supervisory board reports to Congress and the Pentagon on how the academies are doing, including recommendations for change, such as ending Don't Ask, Don't Tell. Polis opposes the military's ban on gay and lesbian servicemembers and has twice proposed, then withdrawn, amendments to undo DADT. The appointment, made by Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, has veterans on both sides of the DADT debate wondering if it's a signal that change is coming.
Oh, change is coming, and it's long overdue my friends.
Tricia Heller, a Class of '87 Air Force Academy graduate who flew C-9 jets for the Air Force before the leaving the service four years ago and coming out: "We're all reading the tea leaves here. I'm not saying 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' is going away. We can't say that. But this is a good sign."
Heller is now an attorney, and one of about 70 members of the Blue Alliance, an alumni group of gay and lesbian Air Force Academy graduates, plus some straight alums who want to end the ban on gays in the military.
On the flip side, and there always is a flip side.
Former congressman, and board member, Robin Hayes of North Carolina, who supports the ban: "This is not the direction I would choose. This is certainly a topic of discussion, but to be perfectly frank, I don't think sexual orientation should be criteria for the diversity we're working for."
Sexual orientation not a criteria for diversity? Ass. Hat.
The irony here is that, if Jared Polis were not a congressman appointed to the board, but rather a student at the Air Force Academy, he would have been kicked out for being gay.