Thursday, May 27, 2010

DADT Repeal: Key Votes in Congress today

This blog tends to focus on analytical commentary, so we'll be brief with these news items

The Senate Armed Services Committee voted 16-12 to start the process of repealing "Don't Ask, Don't Tell." [10 U.S.C. Sec. 654] With the exception of Sen. Susan Collins [R-ME] and Jim Webb [D-VA], it was a party line vote.

Update: The full House of Representatives approved, 234-194, an amendment to the defense authorization bill to repeal "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," sponsored by Rep. Patrick Murphy [D-PA], the only Iraq veteran in Congress. Here's what we recently heard from him:
Dear Friend,

Today we are on the verge of history and I want to thank you for your support.

As the first Iraq war veteran to be elected to Congress, I feel I have a certain responsibility to our heroes in uniform. All of them.

When I was in Iraq, no one cared what someone’s sexual orientation was. All that mattered was whether or not you could fire a M4 Assault Rifle or kick down a door. It only mattered if you could do the job you were sent there to do and to make sure that everyone came home safe.

Every day I wear my 82nd Airborne All-American pin on my lapel. It's a constant reminder of the 19 men we lost in Iraq. It’s a constant reminder that we need to do everything we can for our troops abroad and for our veterans here at home.

Clearly "Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” isn’t working. We spend tens of thousands of dollars to recruit new personnel while we discharge other qualified, dedicated military personnel solely because of their sexual orientation. American taxpayers have paid between $250 million and $1.2 billion to investigate, eliminate and replace servicemembers under this failed policy.

More than 13,500 qualified men and women, who would all take a bullet for their country, have been dismissed from service due to this discriminatory policy. This count includes over 800 medics, fighter pilots, and others deemed to be “mission critical.” Most baffling may be the 57 Arabic linguists who have been discharged under this law – linguists who, had they remained in the military, would today be translating vital information critical to our national security during time of war.

This is unacceptable. The time for repeal is NOW. And we’re closer than ever.

I want to again thank you for your support and to remind you all that although we are close, we will not be finished until repeal becomes law. Keep up the fight and I will continue to work hard to make repeal a reality.


Patrick J. Murphy
OYE Comment:

Thank you, Rep. Murphy, for helping to restore our faith in America. He's a credible leader who's willing to lead.

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