"Today, I offered my amendment, which would literally dismantle don't ask don't tell ... it does say the two things that need to happen ... not if we should repeal don't ask don't tell, but how we're going to repeal don't ask don't tell. So it's going to repeal it, and it's going to go into effect after this study." [emphasis added]
- Rep. Patrick Murphy (D-PA), sponsor of H.R. 1283, a bill that would create full repeal
"My position on this issue has been clear - I support the current policy, and I will oppose any amendment to repeal ‘Don't Ask Don't Tell.' I hope my colleagues will avoid jumping the gun and wait for DOD to complete its work."
- Chairman Ike Skelton (D-MO)
Rep. Patrick Murphy (D-PA) and Sen. Lieberman (I-CT) are expected to offer amendments to repeal the law regarding homosexuality in the military during debate on the National Defense Authorization Act (H.R. 5136) this week. The policy that corresponds with the law, which passed in 1994, is known as “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” (DADT).
By Rep. Murphy’s own admission, his amendment would unequivocally end the DADT policy. Repeal would not be dependent on approval from those serving in our military nor would it be dependent on the findings of a Pentagon study. It would be a simple formality of waiting until the study is released so that the Administration can move forward with the repeal to appease certain constituencies, without respect to the thoughts and concerns of our troops.
The Murphy and Lieberman amendments put the cart before the horse by committing to repeal before Congress ever sees the contents of the report or can assess its credibility. Therefore, it is important to note that the Murphy amendment is not truly the compromise that it has been branded as.
In 1993, Congress passed legislation to establish guidelines for military conduct, including sexual conduct. Violation of these standards of conduct generally results in the separation of that member of the armed services. The law also requires that all service members be briefed on the policy regarding sexual conduct upon entry into the armed forces and periodically thereafter.
Standards of conduct are in place to facilitate high morale, good order and discipline, and unit cohesion. The prohibition on homosexual conduct and other conduct that could jeopardize military cohesion and performance are in place to ensure the readiness and preparedness of our military.
After 14 hearings on the issue, Congress found that success in combat requires
The prohibition against homosexual conduct is a long-standing element of military law that continues to be necessary in the unique circumstances of military service. Many Members believe that opponents of the policy must be able to show evidence that the readiness of the military will be improved by changing the law.
According to a recently commissioned Zogby poll, American people by a three to one overwhelming majority say that military leaders should make the decision on whether or not homosexuals should serve openly in the military.
The scientific survey asked the following question of likely voters: "As it pertains to homosexuals openly serving in the military, do you believe this decision is best made by military leaders or Congress?"
An overwhelming majority of voters (59%) chose military leaders as the most capable decision makers compared to (23%) who chose Congress. Almost one in five (18%) were unsure.
READINESS, RETENTION, RECRUITMENT
Before the President or special interests force a change in policy or law, the American people and the Congress deserve to hear from our military leaders of all ranks.
The military services—not political appointees or advocacy groups—must present the Congress with the evidence, so that Congress can judge:
The ability of Members of Congress to make a fully informed judgment about the future of the DADT policy is heavily dependent upon an ability to obtain credible, substantive, comprehensive and objective data and information. If the military services have not done the analysis necessary to conclusively answer the important questions, then making a premature decision could prove disastrous for our military and our country.
If repeal of DADT does not improve the readiness, or increase the retention and recruitment of our troops, then Congress cannot in good conscience expect our armed service members to shoulder this additional burden when they are already fighting two wars.
Supporters of DADT repeal should bear the burden of proof, and be required to provide irrefutable evidence that the readiness of the military will be improved by changing the DADT policy.
Staff Contact: For questions or further information contact Sarah Makin at 6-2302.