New York, NY, May 28, 2010 … The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) welcomed action in the House and Senate yesterday to end the ban on gays and lesbians serving openly in the U.S. Armed Forces. Last evening, by a vote of 234-194, the House of Representatives approved an amendment to the Department of Defense Authorization measure to repeal the discriminatory "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy.
The Senate Armed Services Committee also approved a similar amendment to their version of this legislation. The repeal is set to take place 60 days after a Pentagon study on the issue is completed, providing that the President and military commanders certify that such action would not hamper military readiness and effectiveness or "unit cohesion."
Robert G. Sugarman, ADL National Chair and Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director, issued the following statement:
We welcome the House and Senate actions that set the stage for repeal of the discriminatory ban on gays and lesbians serving openly in our nation's Armed Forces.
The "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy has been ineffective, unfair, and contrary to the basic principles of our democracy. Since its enactment in 1993, this discriminatory policy has led to the removal of over 13,000 highly qualified men and women from military service. ADL firmly believes that employment decisions such as hiring, firing, promotion and compensation should be based on merit, performance and ability – and never on the basis of an individual's sexual orientation. No one should be dismissed from a job solely because of his or her sexual orientation.
We applaud the strong leadership of Rep. Patrick Murphy (D-PA) and Sen. Joseph Lieberman (I-CT) in support of this important amendment. It is especially fitting that Congress has taken this historic action now, as the nation honors its war dead over this Memorial Day weekend.
We urge the full Senate to pass this legislation and look forward to the repeal of this unjust policy.