FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 28, 2009
CONTACT: Brian Richardson
PHONE: 504-909-0580 EMAIL: firstname.lastname@example.org
EQCA and Senator Kehoe Call on Washington to Overturn 'Don't Ask Don't Tell'
Resolution Introduced in California Senate
Sacramento -- State Senator Christine Kehoe (D -- San Diego) introduced a joint resolution sponsored by Equality California (EQCA) this week calling for the immediate repeal of the discriminatory and counter-productive federal policy known as "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," which prevents qualified individuals from serving openly in the United States Military based on their sexual orientation. The resolution, SJR 9, specifically calls on the United States Congress to pass and President Barak Obama to sign the Military Readiness Enhancement Act of 2009 which would immediately end the unfair policy.
"'Don't Ask Don't Tell' hurts Americans who want to serve their country and it hurts our country by keeping the best and brightest from serving," said EQCA Executive Director Geoff Kors. "President Obama and our leaders in Congress must fulfill their promise to stand up for equality and overturn this policy now."
"Don't Ask, Don't Tell" was first authorized in 1994. Since that time, more than 13,000 service members have been discharged under the policy, including hundreds of service members serving in 'critical operations,' such as counterintelligence, medicine, and translation. According to a General Accounting Office report, 323 language specialists have been discharged, resulting in a critical shortage of qualified translators in intelligence gathering posts.
"To be a quality soldier you must display patriotism, commitment and ability -- none of which have anything to do with sexual orientation," said Senator Kehoe. "Overturning this shameful policy will help ensure that gay and lesbian Americans will be afforded the same opportunities as any other American who wants to serve our country."
More than 24 other nations currently allow gay, lesbian and bisexual individuals to serve openly in their militaries, including Canada and the United Kingdom, alongside whom American forces have served in combat. Recent public opinion polls show that a majority of both the American public and active service members believe the policy should be overturned and that gay and lesbian Americans should be allowed to serve openly in the military.
More information about more EQCA's 2009 legislation: http://www.eqca.org/legislation
Equality California (EQCA) is the largest statewide lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender-rights advocacy organization in California. In the past decade, EQCA has strategically moved California from a state with extremely limited legal protections for LGBT individuals to a state with some of the most comprehensive civil-rights protections in the nation. EQCA has passed over 50 pieces of legislation and continues to advance equality through legislative advocacy, public education and community empowerment. www.eqca.org