Thursday, May 13, 2010

Key vote on "don't ask don't tell" repeal may occur in late May in both houses of Congress

In both the House and Senate, there may be new riders attached to “Defense Authorization” bills attempting to overturn “don’t ask don’t tell” as soon as right after Memorial Day. In the Senate, Carl Levin (D-MI) and Joseph Lieberman (I-CT) are expected to introduce such resolutions, as will Patrick Murphy (D-PA) in the House. The Washington Blade (May 7) has a story by Chris Johnson “Congress nears key votes on ‘don’t ask’ repeal”, here.

Barney Frank is reported as saying that there may not be enough votes yet to overturn “don’t ask don’t tell” because lobbying efforts haven’t been effective enough.

Does Obama's nomination of Elena Kagan for the Supreme Court vacancy send a message about the urgency of repealing DADT?

I’ll take the liberty of reproducing a letter to me by James Moran (D-VA) from July 27, 2005, here

“Knowing of your interests in issues affecting the gay and lesbian community, I wanted to update you on legislation that was recently introduced to repeal the military’s discriminatory “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” policy.

“Gays and lesbians have served and will continue to serve in the armed forces, regardless of the military or of the government’s official position on the issue. It is my view, however, that gays and lesbians should be able to serve in the military without the fear that their sexual orientation would be made known and result in their discharge.

“Many opponents in lifting “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” have raised concerns that allowing gay and lesbian soldiers to serve next to straight soldiers represents a conflict. However, I believe that it is the conduct of these soldiers by which they should be judged. In the same way that there rules in place preventing intimate contact between male and female soldiers, there are rules in place outlawing relations such relations between same-sex soldiers. Militaries around the world, including our allies Great Britain and Israel, have allowed gay and lesbian soldiers to serve without penalty for their sexual orientation. In that time, I am unaware of any reports of serious problems or legitimate claims that a service’s unit cohesion and morale were harmed. It is also estimated that over 30 million dollars are wasted due to “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” In 2001, 1,271 men and women were discharged due to this policy. All of this coming at a time when our nation faces serious threats to our domestic security from terrorists, and our troops are attempting to secure peace in Iraq and Afghanistan.

“In light of these facts and my personal views on the issue, I wanted to make you aware that I recently became an original cosponsor of the “Military Readiness Enhancement Act” (H.R. 1059). If enacted, this legislation would repeal, once and for all, the military’s discriminatory “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy and prevent a person’s sexual orientation from being used to prevent their service in their country’s armed forces. Be assured that I will continue working with over 80 cosponsors of this bill to both raise awareness of the issue and fight for its eventual passage.”

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