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SLDN Releases Letter from Discharged Service Members to House Armed Services Committee

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: May 4, 2011
Zeke Stokes: (202) 621-5406 or zeke@sldn.org
Paul DeMiglio: (202) 621-5408 or paul@sldn.org

SLDN Releases Letter from Discharged Service Members to House Armed Services Committee
Veterans Call on Members of Congress to Oppose Measures to Delay, Derail DADT Repeal

Washington, D.C. – Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (SLDN) today released a letter signed by veterans discharged under “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” (DADT) to members of the House Armed Services Committee (HASC), urging them to resist attempts to turn back progress on repeal. The letter highlights the urgent need for timely certification as Congress returns to Washington from recess this week:

“As service members discharged under the discriminatory ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ law, and who stand ready to serve our country again, we are alarmed at what appears to be a movement to undo the progress that was made last year. Already, at least four expected candidates for President in 2012 have voiced their opposition to repeal and some have gone as far as to say that if elected, they would ‘repeal the repeal’ of DADT. Meanwhile, opponents of repeal in the new majority on your committee have made it clear that their aim is to defund, delay, and if given the opportunity, derail the repeal of DADT,” the service members wrote.

In the letter, they reminded members of the HASC that recently, senior military leaders testified that training for repeal is progressing smoothly.

“We were there last year when Naval Academy graduate and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Michael Mullen testified that repealing DADT is ‘the right thing to do’ and explained, ‘I cannot escape being troubled by the fact that we have in place a policy which forces young men and women to lie about who they are in order to defend their fellow citizens.’ We were there when the Pentagon working group released its exhaustive nine-month study and found no barriers to repeal. And we were there when, with a stroke of the President’s pen, the will of the American people, including a majority of those currently serving in our Armed Forces, was carried out on December 22, 2010.

“Now is not the time to turn the clock back, but that is exactly what repeal opponents are planning to attempt. We urge you to review the record that was before Congress last year when it was considering this legislation. The facts are there, and they are a greater testament to the injustice of this law than anything we could communicate to you in a single letter,” they said.

To read a sample of the letter, click here.

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STILL AT RISK: Despite the President signing the bill authorizing repeal of DADT, it is still unsafe for service members to come out until 60 days after certification by President Obama, Secretary Gates, and Admiral Mullen. Warning to service members: www.SLDN.org/StillAtRisk

SLDN FREE HOTLINE: Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender service members with questions are urged to contact the SLDN hotline to speak with a staff attorney: 202-328-3244 x100.

ABOUT SLDN: Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (SLDN) was established in 1993 when “Don’t Ask” originally passed. In addition to working on repeal, SLDN offers free, confidential legal services to those impacted by the discriminatory law. Last year the organization received its 10,000th call for assistance to its legal hotline.

Click here to read the original article.

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