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Seventy-seven Democratic Congresspeople push back on Don't Ask Don't Tell

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With Pride Week in Toronto I am happy to report some pushback against Obama's recent backtracking on gay rights.

In early June President Obama's administration supported the current U.S Military's "don't ask, don't tell" rule (which forbids openly gay military personnell to serve).  Obama did pledge during the election campaign to work to appeal the law but did not say when.  Perhaps in response to his legal support for the position,  seventy seven Congress people wrote Obama an open letter today putting some political pressure on him and asking to get the process started to get rid of DADT.

The letter aks that the president start a bi-partisan appeal process (though no Republicans signed the letter) and to suspend enforcement of the law as much as possible.  

The leter says in part:

"As you know, Don't Ask, Don't Tell was signed into law in 1993 by former President Bill Clinton as a compromise to allow gay and lesbian service members to serve in the military - so long as they did not disclose their sexual orientations.  Fifteen years later, Don't Ask Don't Tell is instead negatively impacting the lives and livelihoods of these military professionals and depriving our Armed Forces of their honorable service.  Since you took office on January 20, 2009, more than 250 gay and lesbian service members have been discharged under this law, which continues to undermine and demoralize the more than 65,000 gay and lesbian Americans currently serving on active duty.

Although we are confident that you will remain true to your campaign promise to end Don't Ask, Don't Tell, our LGBT service members and our country's national security will continue to suffer if initial action is delayed until 2010 or 2011.  We urge you to exercise the maximum discretion legally possible in administering Don't Ask, Don't Tell until Congress repeals the law.  To this end, we ask that you direct the Armed Services not to initiate any investigation of service personnel to determine their sexual orientation, and that you instruct them to disregard third party accusations that do not allege violations of the Uniform Code of Military Justice. "

Seventy seven congresspeople is a far cry from what is needed to make this happen, but it is great to have dozens of U.S. representatives stand tall on this issue.

 

 

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