WASHINGTON - When asked by CNN's Wolf Blitzer to raise their hand if they support the repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," not a single Republican candidate's hand went up in the air. The position of every single Republican candidate on "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" not only stands in stark contrast to the unified support of repeal by all Democratic presidential candidates but it is also out-of-step with the majority of the American people.
"America's national security was sacrificed tonight in the name of divisive political maneuvering," said Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese. "Every single Republican candidate for president just looked the American people in the eye and voiced their support for a policy that is more concerned about the sexual orientation of an Arabic linguist than it is our military's ability to decode the next piece of intelligence from terrorist groups."
"I hope tonight's debate wasn't aired over the Armed Forces Network because otherwise over 60,000 gay and lesbian troops on active duty just heard a message of dishonor. For these candidates running to be the next commander in chief to dishonor the service of men and women standing on the streets of Baghdad and serving around the globe is shameful," said Eric Alva, national spokesman for the Human Rights Campaign and the first U.S. service member wounded in the Iraq war.
On March 12, 2007, USA Today reported, "Polls indicate growing acceptance of gay troops. A Harris Poll this month found that 55 percent supported allowing gays to serve openly, up from 48 percent in 2000. A Pew Research Center survey last year found that 60 percent favored gays serving openly, up from 52 percent in 1994. Support ran 3-to-1 among those younger than 30."
"The American people have moved forward. Unfortunately, the GOP candidates for president have not," continued Solmonese. "Apparently, the GOP presidential candidates have decided to ally themselves with the extreme views of the right wing, instead of the vast majority of Americans. Not a single hand raised tonight spoke volumes about their willingness to discriminate against gay and lesbian service members."
During tonight's New Hampshire debate aired on CNN, none of the Republican candidates for president supported repeal of the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" law that prevents gay and lesbian Americans from serving openly in the military.
Mitt Romney actually supported repeal of DADT in 1994 but switched his position tonight. Ironically, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., stated that while the United States has a great military, "there aren't enough of them." Although he went on to state his willingness to kick out gay and lesbian Americans wanting to serve.
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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