Task Force responds to Senate Armed Services Committee hearing addressing 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' policy

February 02, 2010

Inga Sarda-Sorensen
Director of Communications
(Office) 646.358.1463
(Cell) 202.641.5592

WASHINGTON, Feb. 2 — The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force responded to the Senate Armed Services Committee's historic hearing today on the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy. The Task Force Action Fund also submitted written testimony to the committee calling for an end to the ban.

Statement by Rea Carey, Executive Director
National Gay and Lesbian Task Force

"Today, we heard Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Michael Mullen begin to lay out a plan for ending the discriminatory 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' policy. They announced the creation of a working group whose outcomes must be nothing less than full equality and full access to all of the benefits and obligations required by military service.

"Some of the questions the group might explore are 'Should lesbian, gay and bisexual service members face any restrictions on exhibiting their sexual orientation on the job?' Not if straight people don't. 'Should the Pentagon be obligated to provide for its domestic partners?' Absolutely. 'Should same-sex partners receive the same treatment as opposite-sex partners?' Yes. 'Should straight military personnel be compelled to share quarters with lesbian, gay and bisexual personnel?' They already do. Separate but equal is not equal. Different treatment but equal is not equal. Equal means equal. Period.

"We thank Gates and Mullen for their strong statements today. We have called on the president to find a way for people to serve openly, and it appears he is trying, though we are not satisfied with the length of this timeline. We continue to call for the immediate halt to all discharges of service members because of their sexual orientation until Congress fulfills its responsibility to overturn this archaic, unjust law.

"Committee members like Sens. Chambliss and Sessions have their head in the sand on the true impact of the existing law. Contrary to their statements, the real story is 'Live and don't make a living. Live and lie.'

"The military has already had 16 years to think about this and other countries have been able to implement equality in the armed services. Let's get moving. The livelihoods and safety of thousands of service members depend on it."

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The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Action Fund, founded in 1974 as the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, Inc., works to build the grassroots political power of the LGBT community to win complete equality. We do this through direct and grassroots lobbying to defeat anti-LGBT ballot initiatives and legislation and pass pro-LGBT legislation and other measures. We also analyze and report on the positions of candidates for public office on issues of importance to the LGBT community. The Task Force Action Fund is a 501(c)(4) non-profit corporation incorporated in New York. Contributions to the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Action Fund are not tax deductible.