December 17, 2010
United States Senate
Washington, DC 20510
On behalf of the hundreds of thousands of members of People For the American Way, we write in strong opposition to Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell and in strong support of its repeal. We welcome the House amendment to the Senate amendment of H.R. 2965 and urge its passage in the Senate. It is time to finally send repeal to the President’s desk.
Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell runs counter to the honesty and integrity we associate with the armed forces, not to mention the values of equality and freedom of expression espoused by our Constitution. Repeal is necessary to restore these values. Until then, LGBT soldiers will have to lie and hide their true identity on a daily basis. Those who live openly and share information about their spouses, significant others, or dating life risk investigation and involuntary expulsion. Any statement that one is gay – to anyone, at any time, before or after enlistment – can be reason for discharge. Your life is a constant liability to your career when you are gay in the military.
The military as a whole has also paid a price for Don’t Ask Don’t Tell. The nearly 14,000 discharges carried out under this policy have meant the loss of a great deal of skill. Among them are linguists and other specialists filling vital roles in our military, and now they are unable to serve. Hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars have been spent to investigate, eliminate, and replace otherwise qualified, patriotic individuals.
Nationwide polls(1) and the Pentagon’s own working group(2) have shown strong support for the right of servicemembers to serve their country openly and honestly. We ask you to make open service a priority by casting your vote to repeal Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.
Michael B. Keegan
Executive Vice President for Policy and Program
(1) Center For American Progress/Greenberg, Quinlan, Rosner Research. February 2010. http://www.gqrr.com/articles/2426/5614_dadt%20polling%20memo%2002.17.10.pdf
(2) Report of the Comprehensive Review of the Issues Associated with a Repeal of "Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” Department of Defense. November 30, 2010. http://www.defense.gov/home/features/2010/0610_gatesdadt/DADTReport_FINAL_20101130(secure-hires).pdf
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