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Legislation & Politics

Don't Ask, Don't Tell

In a letter to the U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee this fall, the City Bar Committees on Civil Rights; Military Affairs and Justice; and Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Rights called for public hearings on the repeal of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,’ (DADT) the federal policy effectively banning openly gay Americans from serving in the military.

The unique combination of civil rights, LGBT rights, and military law make the City Bar’s argument one about liberties as well as practicality. “It is beyond dispute that DADT has resulted in the discharge of thousands of qualified individuals who identify as LGBT,” states the letter. It cites both the military’s loss of qualified service members and the inequities faced by LGBT service members, and the successful integration of foreign militaries as compelling reasons to push for a Congressional repeal.

This fall, the Armed Services Committee suggested that a hearing on DADT could be held as early as November. However, later that month, Sen. Carl Levin, Chair of the committee, announced that it would be 2010 before the committee could consider it. The committees will continue their advocacy around this issue.

Read the letter to the U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee here.

The Hill, “Levin: Hearings to Examine ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ Repeal Likely Next Year” (11/21/09)