Press Release

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

Jul 27, 2009

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outdated measure that violates the civil rights of some of our bravest, most heroic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.”

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.  

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.