Identical bill to the successfully passed DADT repeal amendment in May is a hopeful sign for legislative action this year
The Human Rights Campaign applauded Majority Leader Steny Hoyer and Rep. Patrick Murphy for introducing a free-standing "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" ( DADT ) repeal bill in the U.S. House of Representatives Dec. 14. Sens. Joe Lieberman ( I-CT ) and Susan Collins ( R-ME ) introduced the companion bill, S.4023, last week after the failed Senate vote to proceed to debate on the National Defense Authorization Act. The Senate bill currently has 40 bipartisan cosponsors.
Also please see news update Dec. 18, 2010: Senate votes to move forward on DADT, www.windycitymediagroup.com/gay/lesbian/news/ARTICLE.php?AID=29846
"Introduction of a House repeal bill is a strong indicator that momentum is on the side of an end to 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell,'" said HRC President Joe Solmonese. "With the leadership of Rep. Murphy and Leader Hoyer, support for DADT repeal in Congress is at an all-time high. It is up to Congress to act this year to send this failed and discriminatory law to the dustbin of history."
"The time to repeal Don't Ask, Don't Tell has come. Already, two dozen other nations, including Israel and Great Britain, allow their troops to serve openly with no detriment to unit cohesion. As an Army veteran of the Iraq War, I'm insulted by those who claim that our troops are somehow less professional or mission-capable than the troops of these foreign nations. I'm proud to stand with the Secretary of Defense, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the majority of servicemembers and the American public who all support repeal of this discriminatory policy that harms our national security and military readiness," said Rep. Murphy.
SLDN statement on Pelosi/Hoyer/Murphy plan to pass repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell
"We applaud House Speaker Pelosi, Reps. Hoyer and Murphy for their extraordinary leadership in the waning hours of the lame-duck session. Let's be clear: we'll still need 60 votes in the Senate. This 'privileged' House bill will need to pass the full House and then move to the Senate. While we avoid a cloture vote to proceed and save time on the Senate floor, we'll still need 60 votes to complete the bill and send it directly to the President's desk. Repeal supporters need to contact their House member to vote for repeal tomorrow. We also need to keep the pressure on the Senate and not relent. Time remains the enemy and Senators need to complete the bill before leaving for holiday vacation. Get on the phone and help hold the frontline," said Aubrey Sarvis, Army veteran and executive director for Servicemembers Legal Defense Network.
ABOUT SLDN: SLDN was established in 1993 when "Don't Ask" originally passed. In addition to working on repeal, SLDN offers free, confidential legal services to those impacted by DADT; this year the organization received its 10,000th call for assistance to its legal hotline.
STILL AT RISK: "As the U.S. Senate votes on repeal legislation, service members still cannot come out. A general recently approved the separation of an SLDN client serving overseas in the U.S. Air Force. This service member now faces an administrative separation board. If the discharge moves forward, the fate of the service member's career will ultimately fall to Secretary Michael B. Donley, Dept. of Defense General Counsel Jeh Johnson, and Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel Dr. Clifford L. Stanley." Warning to service members: www.SLDN.org/StillAtRisk
SLDN FREE HOTLINE: Gay and lesbian service members with questions on repeal are urged to contact the SLDN hotline to speak with a staff attorney: 202-328-3244 x100.
Servicemembers United statement
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Servicemembers United, the nation's largest organization of gay and lesbian troops and veterans, issued the following statement today regarding the introduction of a stand-alone bill to repeal the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" law in the House of Representatives:
"The swift introduction of an identical repeal bill in the House shows that continued efforts to repeal 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' this year are still very much alive and the process is moving forward," said Alexander Nicholson, Executive Director of Servicemembers United and a former U.S. Army interrogator who was discharged under "Don't Ask, Don't Tell." "We are especially grateful to Speaker Pelosi, Leader Hoyer, and Congressman Murphy for their commitment to drive on despite temporary setbacks in the Senate."
For more information about Servicemembers United and "Don't Ask, Dont' Tell," please visit www.ServicemembersUnited.org . For the most comprehensive collection of polling data, discharge statistics, academic works, legislative and congressional material, and more, visit www.DADTArchive.org .