77 members of Congress ask for suspension of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell

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Congress on suspending DADTSeventy-seven members of Congress, 76 Democrats and 1 Republican, sent a letter to the White House today asking for the President to suspend current Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell investigations and discharges by presidential moratorium, which would change the policy’s implementation within the Department of Defense, as opposed to an Executive Order. Excerpts from the office of Congressman Alcee L. Hastings:

… Although we are confident that you will remain true to your campaign promise to end Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, our LGBT service members and our country’s national security will continue to suffer if initial action is delayed until 2010 or 2011. We urge you to exercise the maximum discretion legally possible in administering Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell until Congress repeals the law. To this end, we ask that you direct the Armed Services not to initiate any investigation of service personnel to determine their sexual orientation, and that you instruct them to disregard third party accusations that do not allege violations of the Uniform Code of Military Justice.  That is, we request that you impose that no one is asked and that you ignore, as the law requires, third parties who tell. Under your leadership, Congress must then repeal and replace Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell with a policy of inclusion and non-discrimination. This bilateral strategy would allow our openly gay and lesbian service members to continue serving our country and demonstrate our nation’s lasting commitment to justice and equality for all.

The American people and service members of the Armed Forces overwhelmingly support the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. According to a national Gallup poll conducted in May 2009, 69% of Americans, including 58% of Republicans, favor allowing openly gay men and lesbian women to serve in the military. Furthermore, a 2006 poll of 545 troops who served in Iraq and Afghanistan by Zogby International and the Michael D. Palm Center at the University of California, Santa Barbara, revealed that 73% are personally comfortable with gay men and lesbian women. John Shalikashvili, former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff during the Clinton administration, and more than 100 retired admirals and generals support this repeal, in addition to the Human Rights Campaign, the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, and Knights Out, an organization of LGBT West Point alumni cofounded by First Lieutenant Choi.

Mr. President, we cannot afford to lose any more of our dedicated and talented service members to Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. On behalf of First Lieutenant Choi, Lieutenant Colonel Fehrenbach, and the more than 12,500 gay and lesbian service members who have been discharged since Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell was implemented in 1994, we stand ready to assist you in repealing this dishonorable and debilitating law as soon as possible, and in restoring justice and equality in our Armed Forces.

The lone Republican who signed the letter was Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) and should be applauded. I am disappointed however that local representatives Jackie Speier and House leader Nancy Pelosi failed to sign, but at least the always reliable Barbara Lee of Berkeley did not disappoint. A complete list by rank below:

Barney Frank (D-MA)
John Conyers, Jr. (D-MI)
Fortney “Pete” Stark (D-CA)
Edward J. Markey (D-MA)
Gary Ackerman (D-NY)
Louise Slaughter (D-NY)
Eliot Engel (D-NY)
Jim McDermott (D-WA)
Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL)
José Serrano (D-NY)
James Moran (D-VA)
Jerrold Nadler (D-NY)
Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC)
Ed Pastor (D-AZ)
James Clyburn (D-SC)
Anna Eshoo (D-CA)
Bob Filner (D-CA)
Luis Gutierrez (D-IL)
Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX)
Carolyn Maloney (D-NY)
Robert “Bobby” Scott (D-VA)
Bennie Thompson (D-MS)
Nydia Velázquez (D-NY)
Melvin Watt (D-NC)
Lynn Woolsey (D-CA)
Lloyd Doggett (D-TX)
Chaka Fattah (D-PA)
Jane Harman (D-CA)
Lois Capps (D-CA)
Donna M. Christensen (D-VI)
Diana DeGette (D-CO)
Bill Delahunt (D-MA)
Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick (D-MI)
Dennis Kucinich (D-OH)
Barbara Lee (D-CA)
James McGovern (D-MA)
Brad Sherman (D-CA)
Robert Wexler (D-FL)
Tammy Baldwin (D-WI)
Shelley Berkley (D-NV)
Michael Capuano (D-MA)
Joseph Crowley (D-NY)
Rush Holt (D-NJ)
John Larson (D-CT)
Grace Napolitano (D-CA)
Jan Schakowsky (D-IL)
Anthony Weiner (D-NY)
David Wu (D-OR)
William Lacy Clay (D-MO)
Mike Honda (D-CA)
James Langevin (D-RI)
Betty McCollum (D-MN)
Raúl Grijalva (D-AZ)
Linda Sánchez (D-CA)
Diane Watson (D-CA)
Tim Bishop (D-NY)
Emanuel Cleaver (D-MO)
Doris Matsui (D-CA)
Gwen Moore (D-WI)
Debbie Wasserman Schulz (D-FL)
André Carson (D-IN)
Kathy Castor (D-FL)
Yvette Clarke (D-NY)
Donna F. Edwards (D-MD)
Keith Ellison (D-MN)
Marcia L. Fudge (D-OH)
Phil Hare (D-IL)
Mazie K. Hirono (D-HI)
Laura Richardson (D-CA)
Joe Sestak (D-PA)
Niki Tsongas (D-MA)
Peter Welch (D-VT)
Alan Grayson (D-FL)
Jared Polis (D-CO)
Mike Quigley (D-IL)
Gregorio Sablan (D-MP)

If your representative does not appear on the list above, please contact them and ask them why they failed to sign the letter and urge them to support the repeal of DADT. I’ll be contacting Rep. Jackie Speier today.

Post by ILO on 06/22/09 at 1:35 pm