Calls for End to Discrimination in the Military and Workplace
(WASHINGTON D.C.) On Saturday October 10, President Barack Obama spoke at the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) 13th Annual Dinner, calling for an end to discrimination within the workplace and promising a full repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”.
Introduced in 1993 under the Clinton administration, “don’t ask, don’t tell” dictates that although anyone who engages in homosexual acts or states he or she is a homosexual or bisexual shall be discharged from service, recruiters would no longer be permitted to ask potential candidates questions about their sexuality during the intake process and superiors were no longer to investigate service members without actual proof of indiscretions.
“We cannot afford to cut from our ranks people with the critical skills we need to fight any more than we can afford -- for our military's integrity -- to force those willing to do so into careers encumbered and compromised by having to live a lie,” said Obama. “I'm working with the Pentagon, its leadership, and the members of the House and Senate on ending this policy. Legislation has been introduced in the House to make this happen. I will end Don't Ask, Don't Tell.
“We're also pushing hard to pass an inclusive employee non-discrimination bill. For the first time ever, an administration official testified in Congress in favor of this law. Nobody in America should be fired because they're gay, despite doing a great job and meeting their responsibilities. It's not fair. It's not right. “
HRC President Joe Solomonese praised Obama for his remarks.
"President Obama told LGBT Americans that his commitment to ending discrimination in the military, in the workplace and for loving couples and their families is 'unwavering.' He made it crystal clear that he is our strongest ally in this fight, that he understands and, in fact, encourages our activism and our voice even when we’re impatient with the pace of change. But these remarks weren’t just for us, they were directed to all Americans who share his dream and ours of a country where “no one is denied their basic rights, in which all of us are free to live and love as we see fit.”
Family Research Council (FRC) President Tony Perkins felt the President’s speech marked “the beginning of special treatment for homosexual activists”. Founded in 1983, the FRC is dedicated to the promotion of traditional marriage and the sanctity of human life.
"It should come as little surprise that President Obama would address HRC, because he clearly sees them as an important part of his base. What was shocking was the radical cultural changes that the President promised to this audience. The President promised that 'hate crimes' legislation, scheduled to be on his desk by next week, is only the beginning of the special treatment his administration will give homosexual activists."
Perkins also believes allowing servicemen and women to serve openly in the military would divide an already stressed armed forces community.
“As current federal policy states, homosexuality is incompatible with military service. Using America's armed forces as a laboratory for radical social change shows profound contempt for the men and women who risk their lives to secure our freedom. The FRC will work to defeat this legislative strategy and will continue to promote policies that strengthen traditional marriage and religious liberty for generations to come."