President Pledges to Tackle ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ in 2010

WASHINGTON, DC –
President Obama’s historic remarks regarding the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” law in this year’s State of the Union address have raised the hopes of many LGBT organizations that have been fighting for an end to the law that prohibits lesbians and gays from serving openly in the military.

The “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” law was passed by Congress in 1993 as part of the FY1994 Defense Authorization Act. It is widely expected that repeal of the law will come as part of that same defense authorization process this year.

“Tonight, President Obama stepped up to the plate and made a firm commitment to work to finally end ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ in 2010,” said Alexander Nicholson, founder and Executive Director of Servicemembers United. “Although brief, his language was plain, his message was clear, and the outline of his strategy was smart. This effort will indeed be a challenge for our community, and the resistance of those who support discrimination in our armed forces should not be underestimated. But one thing is now clear – a full assault on this failed law is under way by those who recognize that discrimination is not an American value.”

 

The President also indicated that the Pentagon would play a key role in working out an agreement to achieve full repeal.

“We need the senior military leadership to be on board with the repeal plan,” said Rear Admiral (Ret.) Alan Steinman, a member of Servicemembers United’s Defense Policy Council. “They will be key to securing the votes we need in Congress, and to the successful transition to a post-DADT military.”

Senator Carl Levin (D-MI), Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, has announced a series of hearings in February at which, most notably, the Secretary of Defense and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs will be called to testify on the issue.

For more information about Servicemembers United and the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” issue, please visit www.servicemembersunited.org.

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