For Immediate Release
Mai Shiozaki, 202-628-8669, ext. 116; cell 202-641-1906
NOW Condemns Senate Failure to Repeal Don't Ask, Don't Tell
WASHINGTON - The National Organization for Women condemns the Senate's failure
yesterday to repeal the U.S. military's discriminatory Don't Ask, Don't
Tell (DADT) policy. This policy, which bars lesbians and gay men from
serving openly in the military, has resulted in the unjust discharge of
more than 14,000 service members.
"Women and men who dedicated their lives to serving their country
have had their careers ended -- not because of their job performance but
because of their sexual orientation," said NOW President Terry O'Neill.
"The tide has officially turned on this issue -- 57 percent of people
now say that openly gay service members should be allowed to serve in
the military. Those generals and legislators who cling to this unfair
policy are fighting a losing battle."
The Senate could not break a Republican-orchestrated filibuster
designed to block debate on the annual defense authorization bill, to
which the DADT repeal was attached.
"The House managed to pass a version of the defense bill that
included a repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell. Why can't the Senate do the
right thing?" asked O'Neill.
Although such a repeal would not have taken effect prior to the
certification of the much-awaited Pentagon report on implementation of a
repeal, due Dec. 1, NOW repeatedly has stated that further study is not
warranted, and President Obama should use his authority to suspend any
further discharges until the policy can be formally repealed.
"Starting right now, not another service member should lose their job
due to bigotry or intolerance," said O'Neill. "I want to see our
leaders stand up for the principles of equality and justice. As a matter
of fact, six weeks out from the midterm elections is a perfect time to
put these values into practice."
Note: Various polls show strong support for lesbians and gay men serving openly
in the military, with numbers ranging from 57 percent (Quinnipiac
University) to 70 percent (Gallup),
75 percent (Washington
Post/ABC News), and as high as 78 percent (CNN).
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The National Organization for Women (NOW) is the largest organization of feminist activists in the United States. NOW has 500,000 contributing members and 550 chapters in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.