Today the House passed a repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell." Congressman Patrick Murphy is one of the leading voices in this effort. Here is his statement:
“With today’s vote, we are a step closer to dismantling a policy that is not only discriminatory but is harmful to our national security. We’ve lost thousands of patriotic, highly-trained troops – infantry officers, fighter pilots, and even Arabic translators - who were kicked out of the military just because they happened to be gay.
Enough is enough. We’ve studied the issue, we’ve heard from our troops, we’ve debated repeal. Now it’s time to act. Democrats and Republicans came together in the House to pass repeal, and I urge Senators of both parties to follow suit and put an end to this policy once and for all.”
Congressman Joe Sestak also released a statement:
It is long past time that we repeal this discriminatory policy that has asked patriotic men and women to live a lie as they put their lives on the line for our freedoms,” said Congressman Sestak. “As a former three star Navy admiral, I have always advocated for an immediate end to this policy, not only because it was a compromise of our American principles that is counter to our civil rights but also because it weakens our national security. Too often, talented and dedicated men and women have been forced out of the military because of their sexual orientation. Unfortunately, I saw it happen.
“In a time of war, we cannot lose any more troops that we depend on to keep our country safe. I implore the Senate to move quickly toward final passage of repeal this year so that we can protect our nation while ensuring that those who keep it safe have the same rights they defend."
Congressman Sestak has cosponsored the Military Readiness Enhancement Act, which would repeal "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," in both the 110th and 111th Congresses. On March 4, 2010, with a Department of Defense review in progress, the Congressman sent a letter to President Obama urging him to issue an executive order to halt all dismissals under this policy. The DOD report, released on November 30, read: "We are convinced the U.S. military can make this change, even during this time of war." You can watch Congressman Sestak advocating for repeal after the release of the Department of Defense study: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TicFcsATQ_M.
The bill, passed today by a 250-175 margin, repeals “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” after: 1) receipt of the DOD study, which has concluded; and 2) a certification by the Secretary of Defense, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, and the President that repeal is first, consistent with military readiness, military effectiveness, unit cohesion, and recruiting; and second, that the DOD has prepared the necessary policies and regulations to implement repeal. All three leaders support repeal.
The Senate will take up the bill either late this week or some time next week.