November 18, 2010

Wyden Calls for Senate To Vote for Don’t Ask Don’t Tell Repeal

Joined More Than A Dozen Senate Colleagues in Press Conference Urging Repeal of Unfair Policy

Washington, D.C. Alongside 13 Senate colleagues at a press conference this morning, U.S. Senator Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) called on the United States Senate to repeal the Don’t Ask Don’t Tell policy as part of the annual Defense Authorization bill making its way to the Senate floor after Thanksgiving. Wyden, who voted against Don’t Ask Don’t Tell 17 years ago as a member of the House of Representatives and has worked for its repeal in the Senate ever since, called Don’t Ask Don’t Tell a “toxic combination” that is harmful to national security and detrimental to individual freedoms.

Earlier this week, Wyden sent a letter to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid asking that the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) come to the floor with the Don’t Ask Don’t Tell repeal amendment intact.  Wyden is an original cosponsor of the Military Readiness Enhancement Act that would repeal Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.  This legislation attached to the NDAA is based on that legislation but concerns had arisen that it might be removed from the bill prior to coming to the floor for a vote.

 “This harmful law forces servicemembers to choose between the military and the person they love,” Wyden said in the letter to Reid. “Not one more servicemember should be forced to make that painful choice. This law has resulted in a waste of military talent and resources. It is time for the Senate to repeal it.”

According to the Williams Institute at the University of California at Los Angeles, DADT has cost the military $555 million to recruit and train new servicemembers to replace those discharged. The policy has also cost the military thousands of qualified servicemembers including hundreds of experts in critical languages such as Arabic, Farsi and Chinese.

For a copy of the letter please click here.