WASHINGTON - Gen. Peter Pace, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, stated yesterday that he supports the Pentagon's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" ban on gays serving in the military because homosexual acts "are immoral," and compared it to an adulterous affair with the spouse of another service member. Today, both the first U.S. military personnel wounded in the Iraq war - retired Marine Staff Sgt. Eric Alva, who is also gay - and Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese commented on his statement.
Said Eric Alva, spokesperson for the Human Rights Campaign:
"Judging gay men and women in the military for factors unrelated to their fitness to serve undermines our military's effectiveness. Certain leaders' bigotry should not be a rational basis for discrimination. This kind of prejudice is going to continue to have a direct impact on our national security as we allow qualified gay men and women to lose their jobs for no good reason. This policy - and General Pace's bigotry - is outdated, unnecessary and counter to the same American values our soldiers are giving their lives for each and every day."
Alva publicly announced, for the first time, that he is gay on Feb. 28, 2007, during a Capitol Hill press conference where Rep. Marty Meehan, D-Mass., reintroduced the Military Readiness Enhancement Act, legislation to repeal the ban against openly gay and lesbian Americans serving in the military.
Said Joe Solmonese, president of the Human Rights Campaign:
"What is immoral is to weaken our national security because of personal prejudices. General Pace's comments were irresponsible, offensive and a slap in the face to the gay men and women who are currently serving their country with honor and bravery."
The Human Rights Campaign is America's largest civil rights organization working to achieve gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender equality. By inspiring and engaging all Americans, HRC strives to end discrimination against GLBT citizens and realize a nation that achieves fundamental fairness and equality for all.
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