Senator focuses on national security, military effectiveness
WASHINGTON -- Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (SLDN) applauds Sen. Joe Lieberman’s, I-Conn., historic announcement today that he intends to introduce a bill next week repealing the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” law.
A statement by Aubrey Sarvis, SLDN executive director, follows.
“After 16 long years, we anticipate the first Senate repeal bill, thanks to the leadership of Sen. Lieberman. He has a long history of supporting a strong national security and in opposing discrimination of all kinds. We welcome the senator’s leadership and commitment.
“We’ve already heard this morning from a few of the 66,000 gay and lesbian troops currently serving. They know this is another big step toward ending the 1993 ban and to improving the U.S. military’s effectiveness in fighting and winning the nation’s wars.
“We remain hopeful the Senate bill introduction will be bipartisan and look forward to the specifics on language and a timeline. We hope the Lieberman bill closely mirrors the Military Readiness Enhancement Act in the House of Representatives (HR 1283), though with the extended implementation period SLDN proposed to the Defense Department, White House, and members of Congress last month. Senior Pentagon leaders have requested time to review how to implement a new policy of nondiscrimination. Our revised legislative implementation language tacks on additional time for the Pentagon Working Group to complete its review.
“Congress, however, must do its job and repeal DADT this year while the Department of Defense conducts its study. Both can and should happen concurrently. The best way to erase the law from the books in 2010 is for the Obama Administration to include repeal in the defense authorization bill and for Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.), chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, to also include repeal of the law in the defense bill he reports out of his committee. Our job at SLDN is to help Chairman Levin get the needed repeal vote in committee.”