Washington - Today, Joe Solmonese, president of the Human Rights Campaign, issued the following statement:
"Today's letter from Secretary Gates and Admiral Mullen to House Armed Services Committee Chairman Ike Skelton flies in the face of the President's commitment in the State of the Union address to work with Congress to repeal the discriminatory "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" law this year. If the President is going to fulfill his promise it is essential that he address this contradiction immediately. It is inconceivable that the Secretary of Defense would so blatantly undermine the Commander-in-Chief's policy commitment.
"There is no reason that Congress cannot move forward with repeal while the Pentagon's review of how - not if - to end the ban on open service continues apace. As part of the legislative repeal, Congress can provide additional time to the Pentagon for a careful and thoughtful implementation of this change to the law. Action by Congress this year, in the National Defense Authorization bill, will not, as the Secretary suggests, 'send a very damaging message to our men and women in uniform that in essence their views, concerns and perspectives do not matter on an issue with such a direct impact on and consequence for them and their families.' But failure to act this year will, without a doubt, continue to send the message to the thousands of gay and lesbian Americans serving their country in silence that their views and concerns, and the impact on them and their families, do not matter to the military leadership, including their Commander-in-Chief. "
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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