Reaction Of Senator Leahy As 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' Backers Block Debate On Defense Bill

Leahy: US Troops Protect Our Freedoms; Let's Protect Theirs

[On Tuesday afternoon (Sept. 21), in a vote of 56 to 43, the U.S. Senate by four votes failed to muster the supermajority of 60 votes needed to end the Republican filibuster of the motion to proceed to the annual Defense Department Authorization Bill.  Much of the opposition to the bill is related to a provision that would repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” the current codification of discrimination against gay and lesbian personnel who serve, or who want to serve, in the U.S. military.  Following is the reaction to the vote by Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), who supports repealing Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, and who voted to end the filibuster:]

“The discriminatory Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy has prevented many exceptional people from serving their country in the military.  It is a divisive policy that has not served our country well.  It should be repealed.  Most of our NATO partners and other allies such as Israel long ago reached this conclusion. 

“Every member of our military should be judged by whether they can do a job, not by their sexual orientation.  There is no place in America, including in our military, for continuing this kind of discrimination.  Repealing Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell will draw us closer to our founding principles. 

“We ask our troops to protect freedom around the globe.  Let’s protect their basic freedoms and their equal rights here at home.”

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