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Hagel Confirmed Next Secretary of Defense

For immediate release:
February 26, 2013

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

Robinson: Hagel Confirmation a Win for LGBT Equality in the Military
It’s time to take the next steps to honor and protect all service members, OutServe-SLDN leader says

(WASHINGTON DC) Army Veteran and OutServe-SLDN Executive Director Allyson Robinson praised the Senate for confirming former Nebraska Senator Chuck Hagel by a vote of 58-41 as the nation’s next Secretary of Defense and called on him to address the military's lack of discrimination and harassment protections for gay and lesbian service members.

“We congratulate Senator Hagel for enduring an incredibly arduous confirmation process to become our next Secretary of Defense – this is a win for all service members, and for LGBT service members and their families especially. We thank the Senator for his commitment to equal treatment and equal opportunity, and we urge him to take swift action to include our service members in non-discrimination and anti-harassment protections,” said Robinson.

Unlike other minority groups, LGBT service members are not currently protected with an avenue of recourse outside their chain of command should they experience harassment or discrimination. Such protections are common elsewhere in the federal government and throughout the private sector, with 88 percent of Fortune 500 companies protecting employees from discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.

Hagel came under fire during the nomination process for past votes and statements at odds with the President's commitment to gay and lesbian equality in the military. He quickly addressed those, however, voicing unequivocal support for the nation’s LGBT service members and their families and committing to extend to them all benefits available under law. He reiterated that commitment during his confirmation hearing in January; former Secretary Leon Panetta acted to extend many (though not all) of those benefits to gay and lesbian service members on February 11.

“It has been reassuring to see Senator Hagel show the kind of clear, unambiguous leadership in support of our service members and their families he has demonstrated in recent months. Now he has the opportunity to turn his commitments into action, and we look forward to working with him to ensure our military embodies the same values of fairness and equality it protects” said Robinson.

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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