04 March 2010

Chairwoman of Subcommittee on Military Personnel in House Armed Services Committee calls for a moratorium on "Don't Ask, Don't Tell"

Yesterday Rep. Susan Davis (D-Calif.), chairwoman of the Subcommittee on Military Personnel of the U.S. House Armed Services Committee called for a moratorium on the American policy of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," which prohibits gays and lesbians from serving openly in the U.S. Armed Forces.

"I believe there is a way to stem the tide of these painful and unnecessary discharges, especially those instigated by third parties, and avoid subjecting the force to confusion about the direction of the policy," said Davis. "A moratorium on discharges would be an appropriate action to take while the Department decides how to implement repeal."

America's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy came into effect in 1993 and has resulted in over 13,300 discharges to date including much needed linguists. The policy has been upheld by the courts. Davis, who supports a permanent repeal held a hearing yesterday in her subcommittee. Dr. Clifford L. Stanley, Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness, who would ultimately be charged with implementing a change in the policy, testified yesterday.

Davis is one of 190 cosponsors of the Military Readiness Enhancement Act, H.R. 1283, which if passed would allow gays and lesbians to openly serve in America's military.

Other allied nations have permitted gays and lesbians to serve in their military forces. Australia (my other home country) has permitted homosexuals to serve since 1992. Other countries that allow gays and lesbians to serve in uniform (just to name a few) include Canada, France, Germany, Israel, Italy, Philippines, Russia, Spain, and the United Kingdom.

Davis also remarked that she "would ask those who oppose repeal to join us on the right side of history."

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