Washington, DC, December 20, 2010
The American Humanist Association (AHA) hailed the repeal of “don’t ask, don’t tell” Saturday when the Senate’s bill to allow gays to serve openly in the military was successfully passed. The House passed the measure on Wednesday.
“This is an inspiring, and frankly, overdue step forward for the LGBT community and all of us who care about equality,” said Roy Speckhardt, executive director of the American Humanist Association. “A group of citizens historically marginalized and discriminated against have finally gained hard-fought ground. No longer will people be asked to lie about who they love in order to serve our country in the military.”
“Don’t ask, don’t tell,” a policy implemented under the Clinton administration forcing gays and lesbians to remain closeted or face discharge while serving in the military, was the subject of fierce debate in the Senate. The measure failed last week when attached to the controversial Defense Authorization bill and was re-introduced as a stand-alone bill in an attempt to keep it alive.
The Senate ultimately voted in favor of the repeal by a margin of 65-31, with eight Republicans crossing the aisle. The repeal will take effect after Pentagon and White House approval.
“An estimated 14,000 troops have been discharged under ‘don’t ask, don’t tell.’ 14,000 dedicated and hard-working individuals forced to sacrifice their careers in the name of nothing more than bigotry and prejudice,” said Speckhardt.
“Our service men and women have put their lives on the line to protect those freedoms for which they themselves could not enjoy while in the midst of military service,” said Jason Frye, coordinator of the AHA’s LGBT Humanist Council. “No one taking up the noble call of serving our country should ever have had to endure or live in fear of the tarnishing effects of dishonorable discharge based upon matters wholly unrelated to the professionalism of the call of duty.”
The American Humanist Association (www.americanhumanist.org ) advocates for the rights and viewpoints of humanists. Founded in 1941 and headquartered in Washington, D.C., its work is extended through more than 100 local chapters and affiliates across America.
Humanism is a progressive philosophy of life that, without theism, affirms our responsibility to lead ethical lives of value to self and humanity.
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