February 05, 2010
In a full-page ad in today's issue of Politico, AFSCME calls for an end to the destructive "don't ask, don't tell" policy in the United States military.
The ad reiterates the statement released earlier this week by Pres. Gerald W. McEntee and includes a photo of former U.S. Army Sergeant Darren Manzella (courtesy of the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network). Sgt. Manzella served two tours of duty in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom before being discharged under "don't ask, don't tell" in June of 2008.
In testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee earlier this week, Joint Chiefs chairman Adm. Mike Mullen and Secretary of Defense Robert Gates echoed President Obama's call for an end to the policy. Former secretary of state Colin Powell, who opposed efforts by President Bill Clinton to repeal the ban in 1993 while serving as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, has also come out in support of the plan to end "don't ask, don't tell."
The text of the ad reads as follows:
President Obama is right.
It is time to end "don't ask, don't tell."
More than 13,000 Americans, who volunteered to serve and defend our country, have been discharged under the unnecessary and unjust "don't ask, don't tell" policy. Discrimination has no place in any American institution. During a time of two wars, this policy undermines our national security and the effectiveness of our military. It requires the discharge of trained, essential members of military units. It requires dishonesty. And it promotes a misguided notion that some Americans are not entitled to full equality.
Across the globe, our allies — including Britain, Canada, France and Israel — have demonstrated that openly gay and lesbian personnel are as effective fighting the enemy as anyone else in military service. Our military will be stronger when we stop a policy that denies talented men and women the opportunity to serve our country with honesty. Institutional discrimination undermines the spirit of equality that has shaped our deepest values. It is time for Congress to act quickly to bring this relic of bigotry to an end.
Equality should not be denied to any group of Americans. AFSCME is proud of the role we have played in working to end discrimination. For thirty years, we have fought to eliminate discrimination against gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Americans. Our strength lies in our diversity. We support President Obama's effort to change a destructive policy. It is time to end "don't ask, don't tell."
Previous: Time to End ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’