WASHINGTON, May 5 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Congressman Joe Sestak
(D-PA), the highest ranking military veteran in Congress, on Saturday urged
fellow lawmakers to join him in repealing the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" law
banning lesbian, gay and bisexual personnel from serving openly in the
military. Sestak, who had served as a three-star Admiral and who spent
thirty-one years in the Navy is one of seventeen veterans in Congress who
are co-sponsors of legislation to lift the ban on openly gay service.
Sestak's remarks came before a panel discussion hosted by Equality Forum on
the topic of congressional developments in the movement to repeal "Don't
Ask, Don't Tell."
"Veterans like Admiral Sestak, who have dedicated their lives to
serving this country, are leading the movement in Congress to repeal 'Don't
Ask, Don't Tell," said Aubrey Sarvis, executive director for Servicemembers
Legal Defense Network (SLDN). "These lawmakers agree with senior military
officers, including former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff John
Shalishkashvili and retired Army Major General Vance Coleman, that when it
comes to defusing IEDs, tending to injured troops, deciphering enemy codes
and flying reconnaissance missions -- sexual orientation is irrelevant.
Seventy-nine percent of the American people agree with them and it is time
that Congress finally repeal this law."
"It is easy for me to see why 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' should be
repealed," said Sestak. "Once you have served in war and faced danger with
a gay service member, how can you come home and say gay people should not
enjoy equal rights? It is simple. 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' must be
The Military Readiness Enhancement Act (H.R. 1246), which would repeal
"Don't Ask, Don't Tell" and allow lesbian, gay and bisexual personnel to
serve openly, is currently cosponsored by 142 Members of Congress,
including veterans Peter DeFazio (D-OR), William Delahunt (D-MA), John
Dingell (D-MI), Wayne Gilchrest (R-MD), Phil Hare (D-IL), Maurice Hinchey
(D-NY), Jim McDermott (D-WA), Patrick Murphy (D-PA), Bill Pascrell (D-NJ),
Charles Rangel (D-NY), Bobby Rush (D-IL), Jose Serrano (D-NY), Joe Sestak
(D-PA), Pete Stark (D-CA), Mike Thompson (D-CA), Edolphus Towns (D-NY). For
more information on the legislation and "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," visit
Servicemembers Legal Defense Network is a national, non-profit legal
services, watchdog and policy organization dedicated to ending
discrimination against and harassment of military personnel affected by
'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' and related forms of intolerance. For more
information, visit www.sldn.org.
CONTACT: Victor Maldonado
(202) 328-3244, ext. 123
SOURCE Servicemembers Legal Defense Network