Honoring the Values of Our Nation

Under “Don't Ask Don't Tell”, more than 13,000 men and women in uniform have been discharged from the military and thousands more have decided not to re-enlist. Fighter pilots, infantry officers, Arabic translators and other specialists have been discharged at a time when our nation is fighting two wars. By a vote of 234-194, the House passed an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act for FY 2011 (HR 5136) by Rep. Patrick Murphy (D-PA) tonight to repeal the discriminatory policy upon:

(1) Receipt of the recommendations of the Pentagon’s Comprehensive Review Working Group on how to implement a repeal of DADT (due December 1, 2010) and

(2) A certification by the Secretary of Defense, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs and President that repeal is first, consistent with military readiness, military effectiveness, unit cohesion & recruiting, and second, that the DoD has prepared the necessary policies and regulations to implement its repeal.

It would also include a 60 day period after certification before the repeal took effect.

Read the amendment»

Rep. Patrick Murphy (D-PA) opened debate:

Rep. Murphy:
“When I served in Baghdad, my teams did not care whether a fellow soldier was straight or gay. We cared if they could fire their M-4 assault rifle or run a convoy down ambush alley. Could they do their job so that everybody in our unit would come home safely. With our military fighting two wars, why on earth would we tell over 13,500 able-bodied Americans that their services are not needed? This policy hurts our national security and has cost the American taxpayer over $1.3 billion already on this unjust policy. Our troops deserve a Congress that puts their safety and our collective national security over rigid, partisan interests and a close-minded ideology.”

Speaker Pelosi:

Speaker Pelosi:
“America has always been the land of the free and the home of the brave. And our men and women in uniform make it so. We are so because they have been willing to fight for our country. Let us honor their service by recommitting to the values that they fight for on the battlefield.”

Leader Hoyer:

Leader Hoyer:
“The military supports the repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell, and I believe we ought to listen…As a reluctantly anonymous service member recently wrote online: ‘I will risk my life, and in return, I ask to be treated simply like anyone else in the service–nothing more and nothing less.'”

Rep. John Lewis (D-GA):

Rep. Lewis:
“Just like the military helped end segregation based on race, we should have put an end to Don’t Ask Don’t Tell long ago. It is an affront to human dignity and to the dignity and worth of every man and women serving in our military. We cannot wait. We cannot be patient. We must end discrimination in the military and we must end it now. Discrimination is wrong and we must end it.”

Rep. Susan Davis (D-CA):

Rep. Davis:
“Don’t Ask Don’t Tell weakens our national security by asking servicemembers to lie, firing them for being gay, and telling able recruits we don’t want you. Please, America can do better.”

Rep. Tim Walz (D-MN):

Rep. Walz:
“The greatest privilege I've had in my life was serving this nation for almost 25 years in uniform. I know how important it is to fill our military with qualified, professional, motivated volunteers. We are blessed in this nation, that’s exactly what we have. It’s time for us to honor their professionalism and know that they’re ready to end this discriminatory practice.”

Rep. Patrick Murphy (D-PA) closed debate:

Rep. Murphy:
“Former Air Force Sergeant David Hall was walking in this gallery when I was walking in today and he mentioned to me, he said, Sergeant Hall wasn’t asked, Sergeant Hall didn’t tell. Someone outed him for being gay and he was kicked out of the Air Force. He had already served in the Middle East. He said to me, and I quote, ‘I assure you, I’m still fit for military duty. Please stop discharging patriotic Americans who just want to serve the country that they love.'”

The vote was gaveled to a close:

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