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Senator Ben Nelson Announces Support for DADT Repeal Amendment PDF Print E-mail
May 26, 2010 at 12:10 PM

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Servicemembers United, the nation's largest organization of gay and lesbian troops and veterans, proudly applauded the announcement today by  Senator Ben Nelson (D-NE) that he would support the amendment to repeal the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" law being offered this week by Senator Joeseph Lieberman (I-CT) in the Senate Armed Services Committee markup of the National Defense Authorization Act. 

"This announcement by Senator Ben Nelson is an absolutely critical step forward in the effort to gather the necessary votes on the Senate Armed Services Committee to pass Senator Lieberman's 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' repeal amendment," said Alexander Nicholson, Executive Director of Servicemembers United and a former U.S. Army interrogator who was discharged under "Don't Ask, Don't Tell." "We are proud that Senator Nelson will vote in line with the will of the people of Nebraska on this issue. This stance is certainly in the best interest of our country and our military." 

The news, which was first broken on the progressive blog OpenLeft, was  confirmed on a weekly  conference call with Nebraska-area media. Senator Nelson noted that the legislation hammered out from the deal struck earlier this week by the White House, the Pentagon, gay rights groups, and pro-repeal advocates on Capitol Hill  "removes the politics from the process." The senator also said the he spoke with Secretary Gates about the issue and concluded that the amendment "bases implementation of the repeal on the Pentagon’s review and a determination by our military leaders that repeal is consistent with military readiness and effectiveness, and that the Pentagon has prepared the necessary regulations to make the change."

The "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" law, passed in 1993 as part of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 1994, has resulted in the abrupt firing of more than 14,000 men and women because of their sexual orientation, and has led tens of thousands more to voluntarily terminate their careers because of the burden of serving under this outdated law. There are an estimated 66,000 gays, lesbians, and bisexuals currently serving in the U.S. military and an estimated 1 million gay, lesbian, and bisexual veterans of the U.S. armed forces.

For more information about Servicemembers United, please visit www.servicemembersunited.org. For the latest information on discharge numbers, polling, statistics, studies, and other archival and reference information related to the 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' issue, please visit www.dadtarchive.org.

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Servicemembers United, a non-profit and non-partisan organization, is the nation's largest organization of gay and lesbian troops and veterans and their allies. Based in Washington, DC, Servicemembers United actively engages in education, advocacy, and lobbying on issues affecting the gay military, veteran, and defense community.


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