Highest Ranking Veteran in Congress Calls for Repeal of 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell'
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Philadelphia Congressman Among 17 Veterans Co-Sponsoring Repeal Legislation 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 "It is easy for me to see why 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' should be repealed," said Sestak.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 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' must be repealed." 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 http://www.sldn.org. 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 email@example.com SOURCE Servicemembers Legal Defense Network Victor Maldonado of Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, +1-202-328-3244 ext. 123, firstname.lastname@example.org
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