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Reactions Regarding Lieberman’s DADT Repeal Announcement

From SLDN:

SLDN Hails Sen. Lieberman as Quarterback of DADT Senate Bill

Senator focuses on national security, military effectiveness

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Servicemembers Legal Defense Network applauds Sen. Joe Lieberman’s (I-Conn.) historic announcement today that he intends to introduce a bill next week repealing the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” law. A statement by Aubrey Sarvis, SLDN executive director, follows.

“After 16 long years, we anticipate the first Senate repeal bill, thanks to the leadership of Sen. Lieberman. He has a long history of supporting a strong national security and in opposing discrimination of all kinds. We welcome the senator’s leadership and commitment.

“We’ve already heard this morning from a few of the 66,000 gay and lesbian troops currently serving. They know this is another big step toward ending the 1993 ban and to improving the U.S. military’s effectiveness in fighting and winning the nation’s wars.

“We remain hopeful the Senate bill introduction will be bipartisan and look forward to the specifics on language and a timeline. We hope the Lieberman bill closely mirrors the Military Readiness Enhancement Act in the House of Representatives (HR 1283), though with the extended implementation period SLDN proposed to the Defense Department, White House, and members of Congress last month. Senior Pentagon leaders have requested time to review how to implement a new policy of nondiscrimination. Our revised legislative implementation language tacks on additional time for the Pentagon Working Group to complete its review.

“Congress, however, must do its job and repeal DADT this year while the Department of Defense conducts its study. Both can and should happen concurrently. The best way to erase the law from the books in 2010 is for the Obama Administration to include repeal in the defense authorization bill and for Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.), chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, to also include repeal of the law in the defense bill he reports out of his committee. Our job at SLDN is to help Chairman Levin get the needed repeal vote in committee.”

HRC’s press release below the fold.From HRC:

Lieberman to Introduce Senate “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” Repeal Bill

Senate Bill to Be Introduced After Weeks of Momentum-Building Advancements for Repeal  

WASHINGTON – The Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender civil rights organization, applauded Senator Joseph Lieberman (I-CT)’s statement that he will introduce a bill in the Senate to repeal the discriminatory “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” law that bars openly gay and lesbian Americans from serving in the military.  Lieberman made his intentions public this morning in a statement and during an interview with the New York Daily News, where Lieberman stated, “What matters is not the gender of the other person in your unit or the color or the religion or in this case the sexual orientation. It’s whether that person is a good soldier you can depend on. And that’s why I think it’s going to work.”

“Senator Lieberman’s announcement of the introduction of a Senate repeal bill is a welcome development following what has already been a historic several weeks in the campaign to end “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,'” said Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese.

“As a member of the Armed Services Committee and a longtime leader on issues of national security and foreign policy, Senator Lieberman’s leadership on this bill is another positive sign that ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ can end this year.”

Senator Lieberman’s public stance calling for the end of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” is one that is shared by a growing consensus of military leaders, public officials and the American public.  Since President Obama delivered his State of the Union address last month, where he called for ending the ban on openly gay and lesbian Americans from serving in the military, there has been a nearly unanimous and diverse group who have spoke out in support of doing away with the law.   Some of those include:

·         Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Mike Mullen and Defense Secretary Robert Gates during their congressional testimony before a Senate Armed Services Committee.

·         General Colin Powell, former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, states, “I fully support the new approach presented to the Senate Armed Services Committee this week by Secretary of Defense Gates and Admiral Mullen.”

·         A New York Times/CBS News national poll conducted on February 5th – 10th, 2010, shows yet again that a majority of Americans support repeal.

·         The largest organization of retired U.S. military reserve officers in the nation voted to end its decades-long position in support of excluding gays and lesbians from the U.S. military. The association, founded in 1922 and chartered by Congress in 1950, also rejected the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” law.

·         Former Vice President and Defense Secretary Dick Cheney threw his support behind the effort to repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” by stating, “When the chiefs come forward and say, ‘We think we can do it,’ then it strikes me as it’s time to reconsider the policy, and I think Adm. Mullen said that.”

Now is the time to repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”  To be part of the effort to ensure that “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” is repealed this year, please write your member of Congress by going here.

The Human Rights Campaign is America’s largest civil rights organization working to achieve lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality. By inspiring and engaging all Americans, HRC strives to end discrimination against LGBT citizens and realize a nation that achieves fundamental fairness and equality for all.

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