WASHINGTON, D.C. â€“Â Today the U.S. House of Representatives voted 250-175 on legislation to repeal â€œDonâ€™t Ask, Donâ€™t Tellâ€ (DADT). This historic action is the second time the House passed repeal legislation this year. In May the House passed the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), to which repeal legislation was successfully attached.
â€œToday the U.S. House of Representatives said, for the second time, what military leaders, the majority of our troops and 80 percent of the American public have been saying all along â€“ the only thing that matters on the battlefield is the ability to do the job,â€ said HRC President Joe Solmonese. â€œWe are grateful to Majority Leader Hoyer and Rep. Murphy for championing repeal and for Speaker Pelosiâ€™s continuing leadership.â€
Orange County Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez (CA-47), the ranking female member on the House Armed Services Committee, voted today to repeal the policy. H.R. 2965, which was introduced Tuesday by House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) and Rep. Patrick Murphy (D-Pa.), is broadly supported by our troops and military leaders, including Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
â€œRepealing â€˜Donâ€™t Ask, Donâ€™t Tellâ€™ is the right thing to do,â€ said Rep. Sanchez. â€œEveryone who is willing and able to serve their country should be able to do so, regardless of sexual orientation. This is an issue of national security as well as fairness that affects every single American.â€
H.R. 2965 would repeal â€œDonâ€™t Ask, Donâ€™t Tellâ€ only after: 1) receipt of a Department of Defense study on the impact of a repeal and 2) a certification by the Secretary of Defense, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, and the President that repeal is first, consistent with military readiness, military effectiveness, unit cohesion, and recruiting; and second, that the DOD has prepared the necessary policies and regulations to implement repeal. Defense Secretary Gates has emphasized it is critical that Congress pass this legislation, empowering the Defense Department to implement repeal of â€œDonâ€™t Ask, Donâ€™t Tellâ€ itself, rather than have repeal imposed by the courts.
In Congress, Rep. Sanchez has been a longtime opponent of â€œDonâ€™t Ask, Donâ€™t Tell.â€ During a House Armed Services Committee hearing with senior Pentagon officials earlier this year, she said the U.S. should follow the lead of at least twenty other countries that allow gays and lesbians to serve openly. Rep. Sanchez has pledged to work with our military leaders to implement a policy repeal as quickly and seamlessly as possible.
â€œMomentum is on the side of ending â€˜Donâ€™t Ask, Donâ€™t Tell,â€™â€ said HRC President Joe Solmonese. â€œNow it is up to the Senate to consign this failed and discriminatory law to the dustbin of history.â€