Katie Grant, 202-225-3130
WASHINGTON, DC – Key House leaders on the repeal of the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy released the following statements today after the House passed legislation sponsored by Rep. Patrick Murphy (PA-08) and co-sponsored by House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer, which will allow for its repeal:
“Today the House voted once again to empower the Defense Department to repeal ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ – a policy of officially-sanctioned discrimination,” said House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer. “It forces brave men and women to lie about who they are, and it compromises the military’s core value of integrity every day. The majority of our troops want it repealed. And the leaders of our Armed Forces – Secretary Gates and Admiral Mullen, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff – want it repealed, as well. The Senate must join the House and vote for a responsible end to ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ so we can send it to the President’s desk for his signature.”
“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,” said Congressman Patrick Murphy. “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,” Murphy concluded.
“America has always been the land of the free and the home of the brave,” Speaker Nancy Pelosi said. “Repealing the discriminatory ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ policy will honor the service and sacrifice of all who dedicated their lives to protecting the American people.”
House Majority Whip James E. Clyburn stated: “Today is a proud day. I have been associated with this issue for 36 years, 18 as an administrator in state government, supervising the investigations of cases of discrimination. It impacts me in an emotional way, because I can remember how difficult it was to investigate cases of mistreatment when we had to separate out race, sex and gender. When I had an opportunity to help make this change in law a reality as Majority Whip, I saw it as a labor of love. I am proud that we got to this point once again, to repeal this discriminatory policy that has weakened our military by either discharging gay and lesbian soldiers who have defended our country heroically or forcing thousands of soldiers to lie about who they are. I believe the military can implement a change in the policy without disrupting readiness, effectiveness or unit cohesion. I hope the Senate will act quickly and end this injustice.”
Congressman Barney Frank (MA-04) said, “Thanks to the leadership of Speaker Pelosi and Majority Leader Hoyer, the House has now given the Senate a full range of options that should eliminate any procedural obstacle to the repeal of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.’ Since more than 60 Senators have publicly committed to supporting this bill, there is no reason that we cannot accomplish this important goal before we adjourn for the year.”
“Integrity is a hallmark of military service," said Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin (WI-02), Co-Chair of the Congressional LGBT Equality Caucus. "Yet for 17 years we have had a statutory policy that requires some in our military to conceal, deceive, and lie. In my opinion, that policy is un-American. I'm proud of our vote today to end that discriminatory policy. It now falls on the Senate to do the right thing," Baldwin said.
“Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” is the only law in the country that requires people to be dishonest or be fired if they choose to be honest,” said Congressman Jared Polis (CO-02). “It’s a law that not only is hurtful to the men and women who put themselves at risk serving in our armed forces, but it’s a law that's hurtful to our national security and must be repealed. Regardless of their political party, people recognize that on the battlefield it doesn't matter if a soldier is gay or straight; what matters is they get the job done to protect our country.”