WASHINGTON – The Human Rights Campaign placed a full page ad to run in today's Politico calling on the President and Senators to finish the job on repeal of the discriminatory “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” law that has cost our armed forces 14,000 qualified service members.
“In politics, windows of opportunity don’t come around very often, yet we find ourselves in a unique moment of possibility to repeal ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,’” said HRC President Joe Solmonese. “In the remaining weeks of this Congressional work period, we call on Senators to bring up the National Defense Authorization Act, debate it and pass it with the ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ repeal provision intact.”
The full text of the open letter follows:
An Open Letter to President Obama and Members of the U.S. Senate on “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” Repeal
For the past 17 years our brave men and women in uniform have been defending our liberties under the yoke of a discriminatory law that values the sacrifices of some while denigrating the service of others. “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” is just as wrong today as it has been since its inception, but for the first time we have a real opportunity to do something about it.
We all understand the unfortunate reality of politics is that windows of opportunity don’t come around too often. Yet we find ourselves in a unique moment of possibility. In May, the Senate Armed Services Committee and the full House did their duty to bolster our national security by adding language to the National Defense Authorization Act to repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” The last legislative step to welcoming every qualified American into our Armed Forces is now for the full Senate to pass the bill.
We’re not naïve to the limited amount of time left for the Senate to address many competing demands. But that only heightens the urgency of not letting this moment pass us by.
Repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” isn’t a niche issue but rather one that affects the life of every American who looks to our military to keep us safe. It’s a law that has fired more than 14,000 otherwise qualified service members from the ranks. It’s a law that’s pushed Army medics off the field of battle and kept Arabic translators from deciphering intelligence data. And it’s a law that more than 75 percent of Americans support repealing.
Leaving the discriminatory ban on lesbian and gay service members in the dustbin of history will be a legacy of which you can all be proud. In the remaining weeks we have left in this work period, we call on you to bring up the National Defense Authorization Act, debate it and pass it with the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” repeal provision intact. Moments like this don’t come along very often and the country now looks to you to push this critical legislation over the finish line.
The Human Rights Campaign is America’s largest civil rights organization working to achieve lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality. By inspiring and engaging all Americans, HRC strives to end discrimination against LGBT citizens and realize a nation that achieves fundamental fairness and equality for all.