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Lieberman joins bandwagon to dump DADT

WASHINGTON – Sen. Joe Lieberman said today that he plans to introduce a bill to repeal the military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” (DADT) policy.

The Independent from Connecticut, who broke ties with the Democratic Party, told the New York Daily News of his decision.

“What matters is not the gender of the other person in your unit or the color or the religion or in this case the sexual orientation,” Lieberman said. “It's whether that person is a good soldier you can depend on. And that's why I think it's going to work."

Lieberman joins a growing list of supporters demanding the end of DADT. They include:

_ President Barack Obama

_ Admiral Mike Mullen, current Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff under Obama

_ The Reserve Officers Association, which recently reversed its long-held stance against inclusion

_ Dick Cheney, former vice president to George W. Bush

_ Colin Powell, former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff under George W. Bush

_ General John Shalikashvili, former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff under Bill Clinton

Most national polls also confirm that a majority of Americans support ending the ban.

Lieberman’s stance was applauded by the gay-rights groups.

“Senator Lieberman’s announcement of the introduction of a Senate repeal bill is a welcome development following what has already been a historic several weeks in the campaign to end “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,’” said Joe Solmonese, president of the Human Rights Campaign.

“As a member of the Armed Services Committee and a longtime leader on issues of national security and foreign policy, Senator Lieberman’s leadership on this bill is another positive sign that ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ can end this year.”

Servicemembers United, the nation's largest organization of gay and lesbian troops and veterans and their allies, noted the momentum is on the upswing.

"This is yet another historic step for the movement to repeal the 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' law and a welcomed moment for the tens of thousands of men and women who continue to be impacted by this unnecessary and outdated law," said Alexander Nicholson, a former U.S. Army Human Intelligence Collector who was discharged under "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" and the current Executive Director of Servicemembers United.

"We are exceedingly proud of the courage and leadership that Senator Lieberman is showing, and we strongly urge the White House and the Democratic leadership in Congress to proactively support Senator Lieberman's forthcoming bill."