State of California Officially Endorses Immediate Repeal of 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell'

For Immediate Release

Contact: 

Vaishalee Raja, Communications Director
916-284-9187 vaishalee@eqca.org

State of California Officially Endorses Immediate Repeal of 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell'

Today’s final procedural vote on the EQCA-sponsored resolution puts the State of California on record in favor of repealing the discriminatory federal policy

SACRAMENTO, Calif. - As the U.S. Congress prepares for a vote on the discriminatory
federal policy known as "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," today the California
State Senate voted in favor of officially endorsing the resolution
(SJR-9) calling for the repeal of DADT in a 24-7 vote that included
bipartisan support. Introduced by Senator Christine Kehoe (D-San Diego)
in 2009 and endorsed by the Assembly last week, the resolution calls on
the United States Congress to pass and President Barack Obama to
immediately sign the Military Readiness Enhancement Act of 2009, which
would end the policy and allow gay, lesbian and bisexual Americans to
serve openly in the armed forces.

"We are
thrilled that the State of California is officially on record in favor
of repealing ‘Don't Ask, Don't Tell,' an antiquated policy that keeps
patriotic, courageous soldiers from serving openly and honestly in the
military, and now we call on the entire California congressional
delegation to follow the legislature's lead," said EQCA Executive
Director Geoff Kors. "We call for President Obama to cease the
discharges of brave soldiers now and to keep his promise to repeal this
damaging policy. We urge Congress and President Obama to act
immediately-a repeal of ‘Don't Ask, Don't Tell' is long overdue."

"Don't Ask, Don't Tell" was first authorized in
1994. Since that time, more than 13,500 service members have been
discharged under the policy, including more than 800 specialists serving
in 'critical operations,' such as counterintelligence, medicine, and
translation. According to a General Accounting Office report, 323
language specialists have been discharged, resulting in a critical
shortage of qualified translators in intelligence gathering posts.

At least 186 members of the U.S. House have
signed on as co-sponsors to the Military Readiness Enhancement Act,
which would repeal "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" and replace it with a policy
of non-discrimination across the armed forces. Last year, 77 members of
Congress sent a letter to President Obama requesting he immediately
suspend discharges under the discriminatory policy.

"A soldier must display courage, patriotism, commitment and
ability-none of which have anything to do with sexual orientation," said
Senator Kehoe. "Overturning this shameful policy will help ensure that
gay and lesbian Americans will be afforded the same opportunities as any
other American who wants to serve our country."

More than 24 other nations currently allow
lesbian, gay and bisexual individuals to serve openly in their
militaries, including Canada and the United Kingdom, alongside whom
American forces have served in combat. Recent public opinion polls show
that a majority of both the American public and active service members
believe the policy should be overturned and that gay and lesbian
Americans should be allowed to serve openly in the military.

To find
out more information about EQCA's legislation, visit http://www.eqca.org/legislation.

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Equality California is a nonprofit, nonpartisan, grassroots-based, statewide advocacy organization whose mission is to achieve equality and civil rights for all lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) Californians.

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