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For Immediate Release

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

“It is time to end ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’”

Washington, DC — 

Gerald W. McEntee, president of the 1.6 million member American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, AFL-CIO (AFSCME), released the following statement regarding President Obama’s efforts to end the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy:

“We are encouraged by the steps begun today by President Obama and the Pentagon to end the ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ policy. More than 13,000 American troops have been discharged under this unjust policy that forces gay and lesbian Americans in our armed forces to serve in silence. Discrimination has no place in any American institution. It undermines our national security and the effectiveness of our military by discharging trained individuals who are essential members of military units. It undermines our values by requiring dishonesty and promoting a misguided notion that some Americans are not entitled to full equality.

“Our allies across the globe, including Britain, Canada, France and Israel, have many years of experience demonstrating that the service of openly gay and lesbian personnel does not impact the fighting effectiveness of their armed forces. America’s military will be stronger when we stop a policy that denies talented men and women the opportunity to serve our country with honesty. Discrimination against gay and lesbian service personnel undermines the spirit of equality that has shaped our country throughout our history. It offends our deepest values. It is time for Congress to act quickly to bring this relic of bigotry to an end.

“AFSCME is proud of the role we have played in working to end discrimination on the basis of race, religion, disability and sexual orientation. For thirty years, we have led the fight to eliminate the discrimination too many gay, lesbians, bisexual and transgender Americans face every day in our nation. We support President Obama’s effort to change this destructive and unnecessary policy. It is time to end ‘don’t ask, don’t tell.’”

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