Statement from Human Rights Campaign on Testimony Before the U.S. Senate and House Armed Services Committees Relating to ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’

Washington, D.C.–(ENEWSPF)– The Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) civil rights organization, released a statement today on the Armed Services Committees of the Senate and House holding concurrent hearings this morning regarding defense authorization requests for Fiscal Year 2011. General George Casey, Chief of Staff of the Army, and John McHugh, Secretary of the Army, appeared before the Senate Committee, while General Norton A. Schwartz, Chief of Staff of the Air Force, and Michael Donley, Secretary of the Air Force, appeared before the House Committee. In both hearings, the witnesses were asked questions about the repeal of the failed “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” law.

“Today, there were no surprises in the testimony provided by General Casey and General Schwartz,” said Jarrod Chlapowski, an advocate on “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” for the Human Rights Campaign. “In recent testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee, Secretary Gates and Chairman Mullen made it clear that ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ needs to be repealed and that the military must investigate how to best do so. General Casey and General Schwartz raised no fundamental concerns with this approach. As the debate moves forward, HRC will continue to advocate for repeal this year.”

On Monday, Senator Joseph Lieberman (I-CT) announced that he will introduce a bill in the U.S. Senate to repeal the discriminatory “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” law. Representative Patrick Murphy (D-PA) is the lead sponsor of similar legislation in the U.S. House of Representatives. Since President Obama delivered his State of the Union address last month, where he called for ending the ban on openly gay and lesbian Americans from serving in the military, there has been a nearly unanimous and diverse group who have spoke out in support of doing away with the law. Some of those include:

  • Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Mike Mullen and Defense Secretary Robert Gates during their congressional testimony before a Senate Armed Services Committee.
  • General Colin Powell, former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, states, “I fully support the new approach presented to the Senate Armed Services Committee this week by Secretary of Defense Gates and Admiral Mullen.”
  • A New York Times/CBS News national poll conducted on February 5th – 10th, 2010, shows yet again that a majority of Americans support repeal.
  • The largest organization of retired U.S. military reserve officers in the nation voted to end its decades-long position in support of excluding gays and lesbians from the U.S. military. The association, founded in 1922 and chartered by Congress in 1950, also rejected the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” law.
  • Former Vice President and Defense Secretary Dick Cheney threw his support behind the effort to repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” by stating, “When the chiefs come forward and say, ‘We think we can do it,’ then it strikes me as it’s time to reconsider the policy, and I think Adm. Mullen said that.”

Now is the time to repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” To be part of the effort to ensure that “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” is repealed this year, please write your member of Congress.

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.