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BREAKING: Senate Armed Services Committee Passes “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” Repeal Amendment

IMPORTANT NOTE: UPDATED STATEMENT WILL BE SENT IF U.S. HOUSE VOTES ON REPEAL TONIGHT.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: May 27, 2010
Trevor Thomas: (616) 430-2030 or trevor@sldn.org
Paul DeMiglio: (202) 621-5408 or pdemiglio@sldn.org

BREAKING: Senate Armed Services Committee Passes “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” Repeal Amendment
Critical House floor vote expected within hours

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (SLDN), a national, legal services and policy organization dedicated to ending "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" (DADT), released a statement today after the Senate Armed Services Committee voted in favor of the repeal amendment. The final vote was 16 to 12. The full House is expected to vote on the same amendment shortly.

Statement by Army veteran and SLDN Executive Director Aubrey Sarvis:

“The Senate Armed Services Committee passed a historic roadmap to allowing open military service, but it doesn’t end the discharges. It is important for all gay and lesbian, active-duty service members, including the reserves and the national guard, to know they’re at risk. They must continue to serve in silence under the ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ law that remains on the books. Congress and the Pentagon need to stay on track to get repeal finalized, hopefully no later than first quarter 2011. The bottom line: gay and lesbian service members remain at risk for discharge and cannot serve openly.

“Chairman Carl Levin and Senator Joe Lieberman showed remarkable courage and steadfastness in the face of unprecedented and inappropriate last minute lobbying by the Pentagon service chiefs who seemed to have forgotten that they are not the policy makers here. That role in our government rightly belongs to Congress and it was properly exercised today, and is being exercised now as the full House debates to dismantle ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.’

“Repeal is moving forward with the support of the President and the Pentagon, including JCS Chairman Admiral Michael Mullen and Secretary of Defense Robert Gates. The repeal amendment allows for legislative action that respects the ongoing work by the Pentagon on how to implement open service for lesbian and gay service members. Nothing would happen until the Pentagon Working Group completes its report and the Secretary of Defense, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the President certifies repeal.”

Read SLDN’s warning to gay and lesbian active-duty service members, including the reserves and the national guard: http://bit.ly/ds7JAL

Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (www.sldn.org) is a national, non-profit legal services and policy organization dedicated to ending “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” A journalists’ guide is available here.

Click here to read the original article.

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