Main | Thursday, December 09, 2010

DADT Failure Reactions

I have to be honest -- I just vomited a little in my mouth. The Senate just voted on whether to bring the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) up for conversation. Not for passage -- just for conversation. It failed. We all laid everything we could on the line for this bill -- a piece of legislation that would have repealed "Don't Ask, Don't Tell." We all know that gay and lesbian Americans are just as patriotic and capable as straight Americans -- but dysfunctional Senate processes, a homophobic Republican Party, and a spineless Democratic Party got in the way of equality once again.
Human Rights Campaign
"The Senate’s apparent refusal to act on ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ repeal makes Presidential action imperative in order for him to fulfill his state of the union promise,” said HRC President Joe Solmonese. “The only measure of success is an end to the discharges and anything less is unacceptable.” Under his powers to ensure national security following the September 11 attacks, the President has the ability to issue stop-loss orders preventing certain service members from discharge. Pending an enduring solution to this unjust and discriminatory law, the President can and should suspend DADT-related discharges under the stop-loss provision. “In this time of war, we cannot sustain a policy that has already deprived our military of thousands of service members, many with critical skills in fighting terrorism,” said Solmonese.
Today’s vote is heartbreaking and demoralizing to all members of OutServe - and the tens of thousands of gay, lesbian, and bisexual service members - who must continue to serve in silence and live a lie. No words can describe how it felt to watch our U.S. senators uphold discrimination and perpetuate the deceit and compromised integrity that consistently result under "Don't Ask, Don't Tell." We had more faith in our elected officials to heed the advice of military leadership and vote against prejudice. Instead, a minority of senators have successfully blockaded the entire defense spending bill on the basis of prejudice and politics.
Servicemembers United
"This was a major failure on the part of the Senate to simply do its job and pass an annual defense authorization bill. Politics prevailed over responsibility today, and now more than one million American servicemembers, including tens of thousands of gay and lesbian troops, are worse off as a result," said Alexander Nicholson, Executive Director of Servicemembers United and a former U.S. Army interrogator who was discharged under "Don't Ask, Don't Tell." "Since the votes are there in isolation, the Senate should still consider a stand-alone bill to repeal the 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' law before adjourning for the winter holidays."
National Gay & Lesbian Task Force
The Senate’s failure to allow a vote on ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ repeal is a huge disgrace and disservice to our country. Senators had an opportunity — and an obligation — to move toward ending an outdated, unnecessary and costly policy that discriminates against courageous and qualified people willing to risk their lives by serving in the military. How many more personal and painful stories of discrimination must these lawmakers hear before they act to end this harmful policy? How many more exhaustive Pentagon studies need to be done that affirm it's time to end the ban? Three-quarters of Americans say ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ should be repealed, as do top military leaders. People from every background, every faith, every community across the country know that qualified, patriotic Americans willing to risk their lives by serving in the military should be able to do so, free of discrimination.
People For The American Way
Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell has been a failed experiment in discrimination—it has kept countless patriotic Americans from serving their country in the military, and sent thousands of brave men and women packing after honorable careers in the armed forces. For too long, an unjust, ineffective, and unpopular policy has been kept in place by the divisive politics of the far-right fringe. As Sec. Gates has acknowledged, Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell won’t hold up for long in the court of law. The Senate’s refusal to end the policy at Sec. Gates’ request—and to sink an important Defense bill along with it—is short-sighted and irresponsible, and puts right-wing politics ahead of national security.

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