House Passes Repeal Of Discriminatory “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” Policy
ACLU Urges Swift Passage In The Senate
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WASHINGTON – The House of Representatives voted today to end the discriminatory “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy. The bill, the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” Repeal Act of 2010, which was introduced Tuesday by House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) and Rep. Patrick Murphy (D-PA), was attached as an amendment to unrelated small business legislation (H.R. 2965) and passed by a vote of 250 to 175. Legislation containing language identical to the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” Repeal Act is currently pending in the Senate.
“Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” was passed into law in 1993 and, since 1994, more than 14,000 qualified and committed service members, both men and women, have been discharged under the policy simply on the basis of their sexual orientation. President Obama called for its repeal in his State of the Union address, the highest ranking members of the military have called for the policy to end and a report released last month by the Pentagon found that a large majority of respondents to a survey of active-duty and reserve service members and their families say that ending the policy would not have an adverse effect on military operations.
The American Civil Liberties Union welcomed the House vote and strongly urged the Senate to pass the repeal legislation, ensuring it reaches the president’s desk by year’s end.
The following can be attributed to Laura W. Murphy, Director of the ACLU Washington Legislative Office:
“We are closer now to the end of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ than ever and we cannot lose momentum. Gay and lesbian service members have been fighting and dying for their country alongside their straight counterparts without being able to live their lives openly for years. It is flatly unfair to force those serving our country to live without dignity or honesty. This policy’s demise is long overdue. The Senate has precious little time to ensure a repeal of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.’ It must act now.”
The ACLU’s letter supporting the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” Repeal Act can be found here: www.aclu.org/lgbt-rights/aclu-letter-support-dont-ask-dont-tell-repeal-act-2010-house-amendment-senate-amendment-
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