Introducing a Resolution Expressing the Sense of the House of Representatives that "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" Be Repealed in 2010

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Introducing a Resolution Expressing the Sense of the House of Representatives that "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" Be Repealed in 2010



Monday, February 22, 2010

Mr. HASTINGS of Florida. Madam Speaker, I rise today to introduce a resolution that recognizes the Senate Armed Services Committee's hearing on Don't Ask, Don't Tell, and the testimony of Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates and Admiral Michael G. Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, at the hearing, as an important first step towards equality in the Armed Forces. Furthermore, my resolution expresses the sense of the House of Representatives that this discriminatory law should be repealed in 2010.

There are an estimated 66,000 gay and lesbian service members currently on active-duty, serving in all capacities around the world to protect our nation and advance our interests. The misguided policy known as Don't Ask, Don't Tell is yet another enemy to fight at a time when we are strained in two wars. In 2009 alone, we lost 428 service members to Don't Ask, Don't Tell at the estimated cost of over $12 million. We cannot allow the strength and unity of our military to suffer from a destructive force within. Don't Ask, Don't Tell is irreconcilable with the values that our great nation was built on and the values that our Armed Forces embody.

The Senate Armed Services Committee's recent hearing on Don't Ask, Don't Tell was indeed historic, being the first Senate hearing on the issue in 17 years. My resolution recognizes the great significance of Defense Secretary Gates and Admiral Mullen's testimonies, which sent a clear signal across the nation and through the military ranks that discrimination is not a value of our Armed Forces. Furthermore, it urges the Pentagon working group to deliver an implementation plan to Congress as soon as possible while ensuring that the needs and concerns of all service members are taken into consideration, and strongly recommends that the Senate Armed Services Committee and House Armed Services Committee's Subcommittee on Military Personnel include active- duty service members in their upcoming hearings regarding Don't Ask, Don't Tell.

While a majority of the American people support open service by gay and lesbian members of the Armed Forces, there are those who would like to see the policy kept in place. Don't Ask, Don't Tell should be repealed swiftly and replaced with a policy of non-discrimination and inclusion once and for all.

Madam Speaker, the repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell is long overdue. It is my sincere hope that President Obama, the Department of Defense, the U.S. military, and Congress will do everything in their power to allow gay and lesbian Americans to serve openly as soon as possible. I urge my colleagues to support this important resolution and to join me in working to bring about the full and final repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell this year.

This work is in the public domain in the United States because it is a work of the United States federal government (see 17 U.S.C. 105).