More Support for Repealing "Don't Ask, Don't Tell"

New Jersey Lawmaker Joins Effort to Repeal 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell'

2007-05-02 17:21:23 -

WASHINGTON, May 2 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Congressman Robert Andrews (D-NJ) announced his support on Monday for The Military Readiness Enhancement Act (H.R. 1246), a Congressional bill to repeal the military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" ban on lesbian, gay and bisexual service members. Congressman Andrews, who represents New Jersey's 1st District, joins 120 other lawmakers, both Democratic and Republican, in calling for an end to the law. New Jersey lawmakers Rush Holt, Frank Pallone Jr., Bill Pascrell Jr., Donald M. Payne, Steven Rothman and Albio Sires are also co-sponsors of the legislation.

"Congressman Andrews has taken a strong stand for military readiness, national security and our men and women in uniform," said Sharra E. Greer, director of law and policy for Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (SLDN). "At a time when our nation needs them most, the Pentagon continues to turn away and fire qualified gay Americans who want to serve. The Military Readiness Enhancement Act would place the best interests of our country ahead of prejudice and discrimination. SLDN salutes Congressman Andrews for his commitment to fairness and his support for our troops."

Since 1993, the U.S. armed forces have dismissed more than 11,000 service members under "Don't Ask, Don't Tell." On average, two service members are dismissed every day. According to the Government Accountability Office, at least 800 of those dismissed had skills deemed critical by the Department of Defense.

In May 2006, Lieutenant General Claudia Kennedy, USA (Ret.), the first female officer to achieve a three-star rank in the Army, called the law "a hollow policy that serves no useful purpose." Kennedy went on to say that, "We have outgrown it. Our military is better than is reflected in this policy ... We need to recognize that loyalty and selfless service are exhibited equally, by service members of every color, gender and sexual orientation."

The Military Readiness Enhancement Act, introduced in February by Congressman Marty Meehan (D-MA), would allow lesbian, gay and bisexual service personnel to serve openly in the armed forces. For more information, visit http://www.sldn.org/.

Servicemembers Legal Defense Network is a national, non-profit legal services, watchdog and policy organization dedicated to ending discrimination against and harassment of military personnel affected by "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" and related forms of intolerance. For more information, visit http://www.sldn.org/.

Source: Servicemembers Legal Defense Network

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