WASHINGTON, D.C. - The Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) civil rights organization, released the following statement today regarding the United States Department of Justice's filing in Log Cabin Republicans v. Gates, a constitutional challenge to "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" (DADT).
The Log Cabin Republicans challenged the 1993 law in federal court in 2004. On Monday, March 29, the Department of Justice filed a brief defending the law, stating among other things that Congress could have rationally concluded that DADT was necessary to ensure privacy, reduce sexual tension, and maintain unit cohesion and military preparedness.
Statement by Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese:
"We were proud when the President stood before the American people and declared in his State of the Union that it is time to repeal 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell.' If he's going to uphold that commitment, however, he must ensure that his Administration doesn't work against it. The time for repeal is this year, and the time for his leadership is now.
"Over the last several years, I have met countless veterans who have sacrificed in the name of freedom, but in doing so were unfairly forced to sacrifice their integrity by hiding who they are. They love this country, have put their lives on the line to defend it, and serve just as courageously as all our men and women in uniform. Yet, they are forced to serve under the discriminatory DADT law, or to not serve at all.
"While these veterans - and so many Americans in support of them - are fighting alongside our President and many Congressional leaders to achieve repeal, today we took a step backward when the Department of Justice filed a brief in defense of the law. The brief relies on arguments that were debunked and discredited in 1993, and even more so now. When military leaders - including Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Michael Mullen, General Collin Powell and Vice President Cheney - have the courage to stand up and say it is time to throw out the discriminatory policies of the past, it is also time for this Administration to show leadership, move the debate forward, and work with Congress to get repeal done.
"This year presents an unprecedented opportunity to repeal the law, and to finally recognize that all brave men and women in uniform who put their lives on the line for this country deserve to serve openly. While the Pentagon undertakes its review of how to implement repeal, Congress can and must move forward in repealing DADT in the same bill that put it into law more than 17 years ago - the defense authorization act. And the President can and must provide the leadership necessary to get the law passed this year."
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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