REP. CAROLYN MALONEY HAILS VOTES TO REPEAL “DON’T ASK, DON’T TELL” POLICY IN THE U.S. MILITARY
WASHINGTON, DC – Today Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney (D-NY) hailed the passage last night by the House of Representatives of a measure to repeal the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy barring openly gay, lesbian or bisexual persons from serving in the U.S. military.Congresswoman Maloney has opposed the policy since it was enacted into law in 1993. The measure – an amendment to a defense policy bill sponsored by Rep. Patrick Murphy (D-PA) that authorizes the U.S. military to end the ban after completing a study – passed by a 234 to 194 vote. Last night, the U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee also passed a similar measure, a crucial advance in the push for complete repeal. Maloney said in a statement:
“I join with overjoyed advocates of reform all over the United States – and in our uniformed forces around the globe – in celebrating yesterday’s major victories. From the initial introduction of this profoundly misguided policy in 1993, I have never wavered in my belief that our nation’s armed forces should not discriminate against otherwise qualified citizens on the basis of their sexual orientation. Today, at a time when our nation is engaged militarily in both Iraq and Afghanistan, the extent to which the so-called compromise “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy has damaged America’s military readiness has become even more apparent than it was seventeen years ago.
“The policy against allowing lesbian, gay, and bisexual service members to serve openly has resulted in depriving our armed forces of the abilities, experience and dedication of thousands of qualified active duty personnel. It has exacted an extraordinary toll on the lives of the more than 13,000 service members who have been discharged because of their sexual orientation since it was implemented, and its tremendous cost to our nation has actually been documented by the U.S. Government Accountability Office, which in 2005 estimated the price of discriminating against service members on the basis of their sexual orientation at nearly $200 million over the course of just the previous decade.
“It is long past time that the United States joined the ranks of many of our most trusted allies whose armed forces are respected around the world, such as Great Britain, Israel, Australia, and Canada, in welcoming citizens to serve in its armed forces regardless of their disclosure of their sexual orientation. Yesterday, the United States of America once again demonstrated why it is a beacon of liberty, equality and justice for all.”
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