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  WINDY CITY TIMES

Duckworth Would Back a DADT Repeal—With Strings Attached
by Amy Wooten
2006-08-16

This article shared 4239 times since Wed Aug 16, 2006
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It appears as if Democratic 6th Congressional candidate and Army veteran Tammy Duckworth is sticking by her statement to a national gay-rights organization that she would support a repeal of 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell,'—but only if it received the approval of military commanders.

Servicemembers Legal Defense Network ( SLDN ) , a national gay-rights organization, recently applauded Duckworth for her supposed strong support of repealing the ban on LGBT service members. The organization made this conclusion through a statement Duckworth submitted to the Human Rights Campaign PAC, which stated:

'When I was serving in Iraq, it made no difference to me what the sexual orientation of my comrades was. It certainly did not matter to me what the sexual orientation was of the men or women who helped save my life after my Black Hawk helicopter was shot down over Iraq. As a veteran of the U.S. armed forces, I can speak from personal experience that our military's performance depends on the skill of the men and women who volunteer to serve in defense of our nation. Any qualified American who is willing to make that kind of sacrifice for our freedom should be free to do so.'

The Military Readiness Enhancement Act, a bill to repeal 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' that is pending in the House of Representatives, is backed by 119 Democrats and Republicans. The bill seeks to lift the ban that has resulted in the discharge of roughly 9,500 servicemembers in its first 10 years, according to a 2005 study conducted by the Government Accountability Office.

The Duckworth camp says that the candidate stands by her words, but would only support a repeal if deemed appropriate by military commanders.

'Tammy approaches this, not as a politician, but someone who served in the military and feels strongly that we must listen to the commanders on the ground, who are charged with ensuring military readiness,' campaign spokesperson Christine Glunz told Windy City Times. 'Tammy would only support a repeal if was deemed appropriate by the commanders of the armed forces. Anyone who has ever served in the military knows that this is not something that can happen overnight and that we need to work with our military leaders to determine military readiness.'

Prior to speaking with Windy City Times, Glunz told the Daily Herald for an Aug. 10 article that, 'Tammy has not expressed strong support for repealing don't ask, don't tell,' and called SLDN's press release 'incorrect.'

'Our understanding is that Ms. Duckworth has confirmed the statement is hers, and that she continues to stand by the statement,' SLDN director of communication Steve Ralls told Windy City Times when asked about Glunz's response. 'SLDN believes the statement takes a strong—and correct—position on the law, and we applaud her for standing by it.'

Duckworth is running as a moderate for a seat that is vacant due to the retirement of longtime Republican incumbent Henry Hyde. Her opponent, Republican state senator Peter Roskam, fought the passage of the Illinois Human Rights Act in 2005.


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