Repeal the Don't Ask, Don't Tell Policy

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Repeal the Don't Ask, Don't Tell Policy


HON. SHELLEY BERKLEY

OF NEVADA
IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

Tuesday, September 29, 2009


Ms. BERKLEY. Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank Congressman Murphy for providing me with the opportunity to speak on this important issue. As a cosponsor of the Military Readiness Enhancement Act, I fully support the repeal of the unjust, unnecessary, and unsound "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy. I believe we must reject current practices that have institutionalized discrimination against many valuable members of our armed services for too long. Instead, we must establish a new policy of nondiscrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.

"Don't Ask, Don't Tell" is simply unjust. It flies in the face of the fundamental American value of equality for all. No individual, including those in our armed forces, should be discriminated against based on his or her sexual orientation. Members of our armed services have fought honorably to protect our safety and freedom, so the least we can do in return is to fight to protect their freedom and equality as well. My hometown of Las Vegas includes Nellis Air Force Base, one of the premier Air Force facilities in the U.S., and I believe the courageous men and women who serve there deserve to be treated with equality and respect, regardless of their sexual orientation.

The "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy is also completely unnecessary. The vast majority of Americans believe our troops deserve the opportunity to serve with honesty and honor. And most importantly, a majority of servicemembers have said they would have no reservations about serving alongside gay and lesbian troops, proving the problems this policy supposedly prevents are not, in fact, problems at all.

Not only is this practice unjust and unnecessary, it is also unsound. Our military should not fire valuable servicemembers simply for being gay, particularly during a time of war when we need every American who is willing and able to serve. Furthermore, repealing "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" would increase, not undercut, unit cohesion by fostering openness and trust among troops.

Ultimately, "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" does nothing to contribute to our national security. In reality, it only undermines the strength and integrity of our military system. I believe this practice should be repealed immediately, not only for the benefit of our armed forces, but for the safety of Nevada and our Nation as a whole.

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).