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BREAKING: OS-SLDN Praises Senate for Responsible NDAA Passage

For immediate release:
Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Contact: Zeke Stokes at
202-621-5406 or zeke@outserve-sldn.org

OutServe-SLDN Praises Senate for Passage of Responsible Defense Authorization Bill
No harmful provisions from House bill included that would impact LGBT service members, families

(WASHINGTON, DC) Army veteran and OutServe-SLDN Executive Director Allyson Robinson praised U.S. Senate leaders today for passage of the 2013 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that does not include harmful language adopted by the House of Representatives last spring. The House-passed bill would limit the use of Department of Defense facilities, negatively impact military chaplains, and undermine successful "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" (DADT) repeal implementation.

"OutServe-SLDN and our allies have been working throughout the year to encourage Republicans and Democrats on Capitol Hill to pass a common-sense defense bill that respects the service of all who wear our nation’s uniform and does not turn the clock back on the progress we have made. Chairman Levin and Ranking Member McCain of the Senate Armed Services Committee should be commended for their stewardship of this bill. With no anti-LGBT provisions, the bill received full bipartisan support, passing 98-0. We will be standing firm to ensure that the harmful language included in the House version is not included in the conference report," said Robinson.

The House passed its version of the NDAA on May 18 and included two harmful amendments put forth by opponents of LGBT military equality. The first would give so-called "conscience protections" to chaplains and all other service members who do not wish to minister and work with gay and lesbian service members. A threat to military readiness and unit cohesion, this amendment would allow service members to actively harass their fellow comrades for their perceived or actual sexual orientation. It would also give chaplains free rein to discriminate against service members on any basis (including religion, gender, sexual orientation, race, or any other characteristic) simply by arguing that ministering to them would be contrary to their "conscience, moral principles, or religious beliefs."

 A second provision in the House version of the bill would prohibit the use of Department of Defense property for same-gender marriage ceremonies.

“The Department of Defense has already made it clear - and appropriately so - that decisions about the use of facilities should be made on a sexual orientation neutral basis. Anything else is discrimination, pure and simple,” said Robinson.

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About OutServe-SLDN: OutServe-SLDN is the association of actively serving LGBT military personnel with more than fifty chapters and 6000 members around the world It works to support a professional network of LGBT military personnel and create an environment of respect in the military with regard to sexual orientation and gender identity. It is a non-partisan, non-profit, legal services and policy organization dedicated to bringing about full LGBT equality to America's military and ending all forms of discrimination and harassment of military personnel on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. OS-SLDN provides free and direct legal assistance to service members and veterans affected by the repealed "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" law and the prior regulatory ban on open service, as well as those currently serving who may experience harassment or discrimination. For more information, visit www.outserve-sldn.org.

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