Katie Grant, 202-225-3130
WASHINGTON, DC - Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer (MD) released the following statement today after the Department of Defense released a report reviewing the repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell.
“Today, 17 years after Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell was signed into law, the Department of Defense has released a comprehensive report reviewing the issues associated with implementing repeal and making recommendations for a smooth transition to open service. After receiving the views of more than 115,000 service members, consulting with tens of thousands of military spouses, listening to troops at 51 bases and installations around the world, and consulting with many other stakeholders, the report’s conclusion is unambiguous: ‘The risk of repeal to overall military effectiveness is low.’
“The statistics are a clear testament of support: 70% of service members believe that serving beside an openly gay colleague would have positive, mixed, or no effect on unit cohesion. And of the troops who believe that they have already worked with a gay service member, an overwhelming 92% believe that doing so was a very good, good, or neutral experience. I am pleased that the report’s authors also examined the examples of allied militaries, and the example of our own history. Nations including the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, Germany, Italy, and Israel have integrated openly gay troops ‘with little to no disruption.’ And America’s own integration of African-American and female service members also overcame strong resistance—and ultimately made our armed forces stronger.
“After the endorsement of the Secretary of Defense, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the majority of surveyed troops, it is time to repeal Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. This out-dated policy deprives our military of skilled and dedicated troops, weakening our nation’s security. Forcing any of our troops to lie compromises the military’s core value of integrity. And it sanctions discrimination in an institution committed to defending our American faith in equal rights for all. I strongly urge the Senate to join the House in voting to repeal this flawed and harmful policy.”