WASHINGTON - Today, during a press conference with reporters at the White House Rose Garden, President Bush was asked a question regarding the recent comments by General Peter Pace calling homosexuality "immoral." President Bush dodged the initial question, saying, "I will not be rendering judgment about individual orientation." However, he did go on to defend the military's discriminatory "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy, commenting that he believed it is "a good policy."
"President Bush defending 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' as a 'good' policy completely ignores the negative reality this policy is having on our national security," said Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese. "The president's comments today are a slap in the face to the thousands of patriotic gay and lesbian service members who are currently on active duty in Iraq and Afghanistan. If this White House is so concerned about the morale of our troops, then why would they publicly support discriminating against thousands of them currently serving on the front lines?"
'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' Harming Our Nation's Security
Nearly 800 specialists with critical skills have been fired from the U.S. military under "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" including 323 linguists, 55 of whom specialized in Arabic (Government Accountability Office report).
At least 65,000 lesbian, gay and bisexual Americans are already protecting our homeland (Urban Institute report). More than 10,000 have been discharged under "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" since the policy was implemented in 1993.
American taxpayers have paid between $250 million and $1.2 billion to investigate, eliminate and replace qualified, patriotic service members who want to serve their country but can't because expressing their sexual orientation violates "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" (GAO report). That money could be better spent on at least a dozen Blackhawk helicopters, armored plates for tanks and Humvees or Kevlar body armor for 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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