FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 27, 2010
CONTACT: Vaishalee Raja, Communications Director
PHONE: 916-284-9187 EMAIL: firstname.lastname@example.org
Equality California Urges President Obama to Repeal DADT Immediately
“We appreciate President Obama reiterating his commitment to repeal Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, but words do not end discrimination – actions do. We call on President Obama to immediately cease discharging openly lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender service members and to take a stand for equality in the military.” - Geoff Kors, Equality California
SAN FRANCISCO– Equality California called on President Obama to immediately end the discriminatory federal policy known as "Don't Ask, Don't Tell,” after the President reiterated his commitment to repeal DADT in his State of the Union address.
“We appreciate President Obama reiterating his commitment to repeal Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, but words do not end discrimination – actions do,” said Equality California Executive Director Geoff Kors. “We call on President Obama to immediately cease discharging openly lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender service members and to take a stand for equality in the military. Thousands of LGBT service members have bravely served our nation, and they deserve the same protections as all Americans. We urge President Obama and Congress to act swiftly to overturn this discriminatory policy.”
Equality California sponsored a resolution introduced by Senator Christine Kehoe (D-San Diego) that calls on the United States Congress to pass and President Barack Obama to immediately sign the Military Readiness Enhancement Act, which would end the unfair policy and allow gay, lesbian and bisexual Americans to serve openly in the armed forces. The resolution recently passed the State Assembly Judiciary Committee and is now on the Assembly floor.
"Don't Ask, Don't Tell" was first authorized in 1994. Since that time, more than 13,500 service members have been discharged under the policy, including more than 800 specialists 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. Currently, 186 members of the U.S. House have signed on as co-sponsors to the Military Readiness Enhancement Act, which would repeal "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" and replace it with a policy of non-discrimination across the armed forces. Last year, 77 members of Congress sent a letter to President Obama requesting he immediately suspend discharges under the discriminatory policy.
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.
To find out more information about EQCA's legislation, visit http://www.eqca.org/legislation.
Equality California (EQCA) is the largest statewide lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender-rights advocacy organization in California. Over the past decade, Equality California 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. Equality California has passed over 60 pieces of legislation and continues to advance equality through legislative advocacy, electoral work, public education and community empowerment. www.eqca.org