WASHINGTON - HRC President Joe Solmonese issued the following statement in response to Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Peter Pace's latest clarifying statement on his feelings about homosexuality and the military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy.
Said Solmonese: "President Bush and Secretary of Defense Robert Gates should follow the lead of Republican Senator John Warner and publicly repudiate Pace's statements."
Earlier today, Warner, the top Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee, issued a statement saying: "I respectfully, but strongly disagree with the chairman's view that homosexuality is immoral."
Solmonese continued: "Chairman Pace should apologize immediately to the tens of thousands of gay and lesbian service members who are making huge sacrifices and risking their lives every day to protect our country. He has flatly refused to do so.
"What is truly immoral is maligning these service members with his bigoted statements.
"The chairman also is making matters worse by misrepresenting the failed military policy. He argues that the 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' policy allows individuals to serve the nation and that it does not make a moral judgment. He doesn't tell the truth on either account. What the chairman fails to admit in his latest statement is that the current policy requires people to hide, misrepresent and deny their basic identities. It also criminalizes gay relationships and is a constant source of stress and fear for our gay and lesbian troops."
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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