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No DADT amendments in Senate panel’s markup of Defense Authorization Bill

WASHINGTON - Servicemembers United today praised the Senate Armed Services Committee's markup of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012.

The markup, which was completed late last night, contains none of the reactionary and distracting amendments related to the repeal of the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" law that were inserted into the House version of the bill, and also would repeal the outdated and widely ignored prohibition on sodomy between consenting adults.

"As predicted, the Senate Armed Services Committee has remained focused on serious military issues and has refused to waste time and taxpayer money trying to delay or stop the repeal of the 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' law," said Alexander Nicholson, executive director of Servicemembers United.

"The leader of last year's efforts to keep the 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' law on the books sits on this committee, yet no one even tried to introduce a companion amendment to the ridiculous House amendments. This just goes to show that this debate is settled and that Congress needs to focus on the serious issues of the day instead of being distracted by Congressman Duncan Hunter's circus sideshow over in the House."

The House version of the National Defense Authorization Act, passed on May 26, contained an amendment introduced by Congressman Duncan Hunter (R-CA) that would delay certification of the repeal of the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" law, and other amendments that would restate and expand the Defense of Marriage Act.

The new Senate Armed Services Committee markup would also repeal Article 125 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice - the military's outdated sodomy law.

On this provision, Nicholson also noted, "By proactively acting to remove Article 125 from the Uniform Code of Military Justice, the Senate Armed Services Committee has also reaffirmed that it is committed to modernizing the U.S. military and its personnel policies, and to removing outdated provisions that have long been viewed as unnecessary and even ridiculous by military commanders on the ground."

The repeal of Article 125 had been recommended by two prior independent commissions that looked at ways to update and modernize the Uniform Code of Military Justice, the Cox Commission I and II, as well as by the Pentagon's Comprehensive Review Working Group on "Don't Ask, Don't Tell."

For more information about Servicemembers United and the gay military community, visit HERE.