Press Room

March 02, 2005

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HRC Praises Introduction of Military Readiness Enhancement Act

'Americans don't care whether the person who catches Bin Laden is gay or straight they just want him caught,' said HRC's David Smith.

WASHINGTON - The Human Rights Campaign praised today's bipartisan introduction of the Military Readiness Enhancement Act in the U.S. House of Representatives. The measure would repeal "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," the ban on gay, lesbian and bisexual troops, and allow them to serve openly in the military.

"Americans don't care whether the person who catches Bin Laden is gay or straight they just want him caught," said HRC Vice President of Policy David M. Smith. "This bill would allow highly trained and patriotic troops to continue serving while freeing up resources that could be spent on things like adequate armor but that are currently being spent on enforcing an unfair policy."

According to a recent government report, the policy has cost nearly $200 million for the replacement and training of personnel who had to be recruited when gay, lesbian and bisexual soldiers were ousted from the military. The study by the Government Accounting Office also showed that nearly 800 specialists with critical skills have been fired, including 322 linguists, 54 of whom specialized in Arabic.

The report does not include costs associated with discharging officers or trained, skilled specialists - meaning that the actual cost is likely much higher. According to the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, more than 10,000 gay and lesbian Americans have been discharged from service under the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy.

"We laud Congress member Marty Meehan and the bipartisan group of representatives who have joined in supporting this measure," added Smith. "We also commend the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network and other allies for their work on behalf of GLBT troops nationwide. We will continue to stand proudly by their side to push for an end to policies that put our nation's security at risk."

Rep. Marty Meehan, D-Mass., ranking Democrat on the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Terrorism, Conventional Threats and Capabilities, introduced the measure at a press conference today. He is joined by more than 50 Republican and Democratic co-sponsors who support this bill.

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