New bill would allow enlisted gay soldiers to testify against DADT without fear

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Rep. Alcee HastingsIn a bill introduced today by Florida Rep. Alcee Hastings, enlisted gay and lesbian soldiers could testify against DADT without  fear of retribution. From Hasting’s website:

The Honest and Open Testimony Act expands current whistleblower protections between members of the Armed Forces and Members of Congress to include communications from active-duty service members who testify concerning Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell in a Congressional hearing, as well as those who do so and disclose their sexual orientation.

“Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell hurts our troops, runs counter to the values of our Armed Forces, and threatens our national security.  Since the law was implemented in 1994, over 13,500 qualified service members have been lost to Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, and counting.  Furthermore, Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell continues to undermine and demoralize the more than 65,000 GLBT Americans currently serving on active duty,” said Hastings.

“As the United States continues to work toward responsibly ending the war in Iraq and reengages the threat from al Qaeda in Afghanistan, our GLBT service members offer invaluable skills that enhance our military’s potency and readiness.  They are linguists, aviators, medics, and highly-trained soldiers who are involved in valuable operations that have nothing to do with their sexual orientation and everything to do with protecting our freedom and advancing our national security interests.

Hastings is a long time opponent of the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy. Back in September he introduced an amendment to a defense appropriations bill which would have cut off funding for future DADT investigations. His appearance on Rachel Maddow below.

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Post by ILO on 12/02/09 at 5:20 pm