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Sen. Levin Presses DADT Repeal

Ian S. Thompson,
Senior Legislative Advocate,
ACLU
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May 12, 2010

The Advocate reported late on Tuesday that Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin (D-Mich.) continues to favor pressing forward with a legislative repeal of the discriminatory and counterproductive “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” (DADT) this year.

Sen. Levin was responding to a recent letter from Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Joint Chiefs Chairman Michael Mullen that urged Congress not to act on moving forward with repeal until after the conclusion of an ongoing, year-long Pentagon study examining how to implement repeal of DADT.

The ACLU, as well as other leading organizations pressing for legislative repeal of DADT this year, believes there is simply no reason why Congress should not act this year to repeal DADT with the understanding that open service would not be implemented until the completion later this year of the Pentagon study on the best ways to do that. In the interim, there should be no further discharges of gay and lesbian service members under the DADT policy. Such a position is fully in keeping with President Obama’s oft-repeated calls, including in this year’s State of the Union address, in support of fully repealing DADT.

The Advocate story reported that, at least prior to the Gates/Mullen letter, Chairman Levin was a mere one to two votes away from being able to include repeal of DADT in this year’s defense authorization bill, providing further proof that there has not been a better time in the nearly two decades it has been on the books to press forward with repeal of DADT. To let the current atmosphere of support for repeal slip by would be both tragic and unacceptable. Thankfully, congressional leaders like Chairman Levin seem determined to press forward.

Please continue to speak out on this issue and contact your members of Congress to let them know you favor repealing DADT this year!

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