WASHINGTON The Human Rights Campaign, the nation's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender civil rights organization, applauded Senator Joseph Lieberman ( I-CT ) 's statement that he will introduce a bill in the Senate to repeal the discriminatory "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" law that bars openly gay and lesbian Americans from serving in the military. Lieberman made his intentions public this morning in a statement and during an interview with the New York Daily News,where Lieberman stated, "What matters is not the gender of the other person in your unit or the color or the religion or in this case the sexual orientation. It's whether that person is a good soldier you can depend on. And that's why I think it's going to work."
"Senator Lieberman's announcement of the introduction of a Senate repeal bill is a welcome development following what has already been a historic several weeks in the campaign to end "Don't Ask, Don't Tell,'" said Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese. "As a member of the Armed Services Committee and a longtime leader on issues of national security and foreign policy, Senator Lieberman's leadership on this bill is another positive sign that 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' can end this year."
Senator Lieberman's public stance calling for the end of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" is one that is shared by a growing consensus of military leaders, public officials and the American public. Since President Obama delivered his State of the Union address last month, where he called for ending the ban on openly gay and lesbian Americans from serving in the military, there has been a nearly unanimous and diverse group who have spoke out in support of doing away with the law. Some of those include:
· Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Mike Mullen and Defense Secretary Robert Gates during their congressional testimony before a Senate Armed Services Committee.
· General Colin Powell, former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, states, "I fully support the new approach presented to the Senate Armed Services Committee this week by Secretary of Defense Gates and Admiral Mullen."
· A New York Times/CBS News national poll conducted on February 5th 10th, 2010, shows yet again that a majority of Americans support repeal.
· The largest organization of retired U.S. military reserve officers in the nation voted to end its decades-long position in support of excluding gays and lesbians from the U.S. military. The association, founded in 1922 and chartered by Congress in 1950, also rejected the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" law.
· Former Vice President and Defense Secretary Dick Cheney threw his support behind the effort to repeal "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" by stating, "When the chiefs come forward and say, 'We think we can do it,' then it strikes me as it's time to reconsider the policy, and I think Adm. Mullen said that."