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OS-SLDN Responds to Anti-gay NDAA Language

For immediate release:
Monday, December 17, 2012

Contact: Zeke Stokes at
202-6210-5406 or zeke@outserve-sldn.org

OutServe-SLDN Responds to Reports of Anti-gay “Akin Provision” in Final Defense Authorization Bill
Robinson: Next Secretary of Defense should not be saddled with laws that threaten good order and discipline

(WASHINGTON, DC) Army veteran and OutServe-SLDN Executive Director Allyson Robinson responded to reports that at least one anti-gay provision may make its way into the final version of this year’s National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), expected to receive a final vote in the U.S. House and Senate later this week. The language, pushed by Rep. Todd Akin (R-MO), gives so-called “conscience protections” to service members (including chaplains) who do not wish to work with gay and lesbian service members and would open the door to active harassment and discrimination on the basis of perceived or actual sexual orientation.

“As a former military commander, I can tell you that allowing any service member to openly discriminate against a comrade in this way will compromise good order and discipline -- the very thing supporters of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ falsely claimed was going to happen back when we repealed the law. The fact is, there are already strong protections for all service members, including chaplains, in place, and all this provision would do is create a license to discriminate. The next Secretary of Defense should not be saddled with a law that makes it harder for small unit commanders in the field to lead their troops,” said Robinson.

Robinson served 11 years in the military before leaving the service to enter Christian ministry.

“As a former minister, I can tell you that no chaplain I know would want such a carve-out for those who want the right to openly discriminate against any group of service members. No chaplain I know is seeking justification to refuse to serve our troops. The Akin language tries to fix a ‘problem’ that doesn’t exist. Religion is already a protected class in the military; unfortunately, this simply reminds us that sexual orientation is not,” said Robinson.

OutServe-SLDN has called on President Obama to issue an executive order barring discrimination and harassment in the military based on sexual orientation.

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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