July 27, 2009

Gillibrand Announces Senate Hearing on “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” Policy

Armed Services Committee Chairman Levin Agrees to Hold A Senate Hearing on the Policy This Fall

Washington, D.C. - U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand is announcing that the Senate Armed Services Committee is agreeing to hold a Senate hearing on the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" (DADT) policy in the Armed Forces this fall.  According to a report from the Center for American Progress released last month, since President Barack Obama took office, 265 men and women have been dismissed from the Armed Forces because of the DADT policy.

"This policy is wrong for our national security and wrong for the moral foundation upon which our country was founded,'" Senator Gillibrand said. "I thank Chairman Levin for agreeing to hold this important hearing.  Numerous military leaders are telling us that the times have changed.  ‘Don't Ask, Don't Tell' is an unfair, outdated measure that violates the civil rights of some of our bravest, most heroic men and women. By repealing this policy, we will increase America's strength - both militarily and morally."

Nearly 13,000 service members have been discharged for their sexual orientation since 1993, when the policy was first instituted. The Government Accountability Office estimates that the policy cost the Armed Forces approximately $95.4 million in recruiting costs and $95.1 million for training replacements for the 9,488 troops that were discharged from 1994 through 2003.  

According to a Gallup Poll from May of this year, 69 percent of Americans favor military service by openly gay men and lesbians.

More than 100 retired U.S. military leaders - including the former head of the Naval Academy -signed on to a statement last November calling for an end to DADT policy.

Last month, Senator Gillibrand met with Lt. Dan Choi, a constituent, who was dismissed from the Armed Forces because of the DADT policy.  Senator Gillibrand pledged to work with him to repair the damage that has been done to his career and spare thousands of innocent, brave men and women from the same injustice.