News release from Servicemembers United:
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Servicemembers United, the nation's largest organization of gay and lesbian troops and veterans, commended the announcement today that the administration will now support an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act to repeal the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" law this year. The proposed amendment would include a delayed implementation provision that would not allow repeal to take effect until the Pentagon's Comprehensive Review Working Group completed its nine-month implementation management study and until the President, the Secretary of Defense, and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff certified that the military is ready to implement repeal smoothly.
"This announcement from the White House today is long awaited, much needed, and immensely helpful as we enter a critical phase of the battle to repeal the 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' law," 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." "We have been making the case to White House staff for more than a year now that delayed implementation is realistic, politically viable, and the only way to get the defense community on board with repeal, and we are glad to see the community and now the administration and defense leadership finally rally around this option."
The "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" law, passed in 1993 as part of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 1994, has resulted in the abrupt firing of more than 14,000 men and women because of their sexual orientation, and has led tens of thousands more to voluntarily terminate their careers because of the burden of serving under this outdated law. There are an estimated 66,000 gays, lesbians, and bisexuals currently serving in the U.S. military and an estimated 1 million gay, lesbian, and bisexual veterans of the U.S. armed forces.
For more information about Servicemembers United, please visit www.servicemembersunited.org. For the latest information on discharge numbers, polling, statistics, studies, and other archival and reference information related to the 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' issue, please visit www.dadtarchive.org.
Servicemembers United, a non-profit and non-partisan organization, is the nation's largest organization of gay and lesbian troops and veterans and their allies. Based in Washington, DC, Servicemembers United actively engages in education, advocacy, and lobbying on issues affecting the gay military, veteran, and defense community.