Amendment To Defense Authorization Bill Is An Historic First Step, Says ACLU
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WASHINGTON – Following a similar vote by the Senate Armed Services Committee earlier today, the House voted this evening to repeal the controversial "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy bringing an end to years of LGBT discrimination in the military. The amendment setting the repeal into action, offered by Congressman Patrick Murphy (D-PA), was attached to the National Defense Authorization Act of 2010 (NDAA). The "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy, passed by Congress and signed by President Clinton in 1993, states that openly lesbian and gay individuals pose "an unacceptable threat to the high standards of morale, good order and discipline, and unit cohesion that are the essence of military capability" and prevents gay and lesbian individuals from serving openly in the military. The Murphy amendment passed the House by a vote of 234 - 194.
The Senate Armed Services Committee passed its amendment, introduced by Senator Joseph Lieberman (I-CT), today during a markup of the Senate version of the NDAA.
The language of the amendment states that a full repeal will take place after the Pentagon completes a study of the effects of policy’s repeal in December. President Obama then must certify that the policy’s repeal will not affect or harm the military in any way regarding readiness, recruitment and a number of other areas.
The following can be attributed to Christopher Anders, ACLU Senior Legislative Counsel:
“Today’s vote to repeal 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' should be seen for what it is: a hugely significant step towards eliminating this failed and counterproductive policy. For the better part of two decades, gay and lesbian Americans have lived beneath the threat of being discharged simply for being who they are under this policy. Our men and women in uniform deserve our government’s utmost respect and it is un-American to ask anyone willing to die for this country to live without dignity or honesty. It is up to Congress to continue this momentum to see this through to the end and ensure that 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' receives a dishonorable discharge."
To read the ACLU’s letter in support of the Murphy Amendment, go to: www.aclu.org/lgbt-rights/aclu-letter-support-murphy-amendment-national-defense-authorization-act-repealing-dont-a