Press Room

February 11, 2005

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Discharges Under ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ Down Fourth Year in a Row

'These falling numbers point to an erratically enforced law that needs to go,' said HRC's David Smith.

WASHINGTON - As the Department of Defense released numbers today showing a decline in "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" discharges for the fourth year in a row, the Human Rights Campaign pointed to the need for fairness in military policy. Current laws and regulations are a threat to the nation's dire need for troops, says HRC.

"These falling numbers point to an erratically enforced law that needs to go," said HRC Vice President of Policy and Strategy David M. Smith.

"Many military commanders are overlooking 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' when in times of war so that the service members who they value and need can keep doing their jobs."

In Fiscal Year 2004, 653 service members were discharged under "Don't Ask, Don't Tell." That number is down 15 percent since FY 2003 and 47 percent since Sept. 11, 2001. This year alone, the Army lost 325 soldiers, the Air Force 92 service members, the Marines 59 and the Navy 177.

"Gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Americans are defending the freedoms of others while not experiencing it for themselves," added Smith. "It's time for all American service members to get the same kind of dignity and respect that we would want for our brave troops."

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