Human Rights Campaign Hails U.S. House Introduction of the Military Readiness Enhancement Act

by HRC Staff

The legislation, sponsored by Congresswoman Ellen Tauscher (D-CA), would end military's discriminatory "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" law.

WASHINGTON - The Human Rights Campaign, the nation's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender civil rights organization, today lauded the introduction of the Military Readiness Enhancement Act (MREA) in the U.S. House of Representatives. The bill, sponsored by Congresswoman Ellen Tauscher (D-CA), would replace the military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" law with one of non-discrimination. "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" prohibits lesbians and gays from serving openly in the U.S. Armed Forces.

"On behalf of the Human Rights Campaign, I thank Congresswoman Tauscher for her continued leadership on issues of LGBT equality and, in particular, her sponsorship of the Military Readiness Enhancement Act," said Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese. "Nearly 12,500 qualified individuals have been discharged from the military because they were lesbian or gay, without regard to the skills and expertise they possess. It's unthinkable that a policy that prizes bigotry over the security of our nation should remain the law of the land. We look forward to working with Congress, President Obama and his Administration to repeal 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell.'"

Approximately 80 percent of Americans believe that "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" should be repealed. Additionally, former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General John Shalikashvili and more than 100 high ranking Generals and Admirals have said the policy is harming America's national security and needs to be repealed. Former Secretary of State General Colin Powell has also said that it is time for the policy to be reviewed.

"This discriminatory law has been in place for over 15 years and will not be repealed overnight. Repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell requires a partnership with the Administration. We look forward to working with the Administration in achieving repeal, an effort that must include a strategy for building support in the Pentagon and on Capitol Hill," continued Solmonese.

HRC has worked extensively for the repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell." In July of 2008, HRC submitted testimony to the U.S. House Armed Services Committee's Personnel Subcommittee for an oversight hearing on the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy. In 2007, to commemorate the 14th anniversary of this discriminatory law, the Human Rights Campaign displayed 12,000 flags on the National Mall to recognize the 12,000 men and women discharged from the military since the enactment "Don't Ask, Don't Tell." HRC also convened the Legacy of Service tour, which brought U.S. veterans, many of whom were discharged under "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," to cities across the nation to speak out against the discriminatory policy.

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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