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Don't Ask, Don't Tell repeal effort gains five new supporters in House

by PageOneQ

Five additional members of the US House, all Democrats, have signed on as co-sponsors of the Military Readiness Enhancement Act of 2007 (HR 1246) which would repeal the Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy that prohibits openly gay or lesbian Americans from serving in the armed forces.

The addition of Reps. Al Green (TX), Jesse Jackson, Jr. (IL), Ron Klein (FL), Patrick J. Murphy (PA) and Mike Thompson (CA) means there are now 136 co-sponsors of the bill.

"We are enormously proud to welcome these five lawmakers to the growing coalition of Congressional Members working to repeal Donít Ask, Donít Tell," said Aubrey Sarvis, the newly hired executive director of the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network said in a statement obtained by PageOneQ.

The bill, originally sponsored by former Rep. Marty Meehan (D-MA) is now being shepherded through Congress by Congresswoman Ellen Tauscher (D-CA).

"With every new lawmaker who signs on we are one step closer to repealing this discriminatory policy that has been preventing otherwise qualified men and women from serving our country and contributing to the finest fighting force in the world. I thank all these new cosponsors for standing up for whatís right, and I look forward to working with them to enlist more and more of our colleagues, Tauscher said in a statement.

Singling out Iraq war veteran Congressman Patrick J, Murphy, SLDN's Sarvis said that Murphy is a respected voice on military issues and that he "will be an irreplaceable ally in our work to repeal Donít Ask, Donít Tell. His support sends a strong message that those who know our armed forces best also understand that ending this law is the right thing to do for our military and our country."

Murphy is the first Iraq war veteran elected to Congress. He is a former West Point professor and is a recipient of the Bronze Star for service.

According to SLDN, the policy "has cost American taxpayers more than $364 million. An average of two service members are dismissed under the law every day. According to the Government Accountability Office (GAO), nearly 800 people with skills deemed Ďmission-criticalí by the Pentagon have been dismissed under the law, including more than 322 language experts, at least 58 of whom specialized in Arabic."

On the web: Servicemembers Legal Defense Network


Originally published on Wednesday October 24, 2007.

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