Today, HRC called on all presidential candidates to repudiate the suggestion from Ben Carson that he would be open to returning to a policy in the military where gay, lesbian, and bisexual troops are prevented from serving openly, and continuing to bar transgender troops from openly serving.

The idea came during an interview with CNN where Carson’s new campaign chair said he wants to restrict the role of women in the military and bring back the days of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” (DADT). CNN’s Jake Tapper asked Carson if he “would consider revoking the Obama administration's moves to open the military and combat roles to LGBT troops and women.” Carson affirmed that he would consider the ridiculous and offensive idea, putting thousands of currently serving troops at risk.

“Ben Carson showed us once again how unfit he is to be commander in chief by entertaining the idea of firing thousands of currently serving military personnel who happen to be LGBT, even while we battle threats like ISIS,” said HRC spokesperson Stephen Peters, a Marine veteran discharged under DADT. “Such archaic and offensive ideas are dangerously foolish, and all candidates should immediately make clear that Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell should remain a relic of the past.”

Carson also has previously opposed the Pentagon’s current review underway updating the outdated regulations which prevent transgender service members from serving authentically.

For 17 years, DADT prohibited qualified gay, lesbian, and bisexual Americans from serving openly in the Armed Forces and sent a message that discrimination was acceptable. A 2010 study also found that women and minorities were disproportionately discharged under DADT. From World War II until the end of DADT, an estimated 114,000 service members were discharged from the military because of their sexual orientation.


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