Monday, November 07, 2005

DeKalb County, Georgia Democrats Call For Repeal of 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell'; Resolution Calls on Congress to Pass Military Readiness Enhancement Act

WASHINGTON, Nov. 7 /U.S. Newswire/ -- The Democratic Party of DeKalb County, Georgia, today passed a resolution urging Members of Congress to pass the Military Readiness Enhancement Act (H.R. 1059), a Congressional bill to repeal the military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" ban on lesbian, gay and bisexual personnel. The resolution was supported by American Veterans for Equal Rights and DeKalb County Democrats treasurer Danny Ingram, a U.S. Army veteran discharged under the military's ban in 1994, spoke in favor of the resolution's passage.

"The DeKalb County Democrats have become only the latest community organization to recognize the service and sacrifice of lesbian, gay and bisexual Americans," said former Army Captain Sharon Alexander, deputy director for policy for Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (SLDN). "From California to New York, communities understand that the best way to strengthen our armed forces, and salute the service of more than one million gay veterans now living in our country, is to repeal the military's ban. SLDN salutes the DeKalb County Democrats and American Veterans for Equal Rights for their unwavering support for our men and women in uniform."

The Military Readiness Enhancement Act, introduced in March, would repeal the military's ban and allow lesbian, gay and bisexual personnel to serve openly. The bill is currently supported by a bi-partisan coalition of lawmakers, including Rep. John Lewis of Georgia. The bill is also supported by nine members of the House Armed Services Committee. Resolutions supporting the bill have recently been approved by city councils in New York, Chicago, St. Louis, West Hollywood, San Francisco and Cathedral City, Calif. In September the California State Assembly also approved a similar resolution, making it the state the first to officially oppose the military's ban.

"When my commanding officer asked me if I was gay, I replied 'Yes sir, I am,'" recalled Ingram. "No one in the United States of America should ever be fired from their job for saying 'I am.'" He went on to say that, "Patriotic gay and lesbian Americans who are courageous enough to put their lives on the line to defend their nation ... should not be fired from their jobs because of who they are."

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Servicemembers Legal Defense Network is a national, non-profit legal services, watchdog and policy organization dedicated to ending discrimination against and harassment of military personnel affected by "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" and related forms of intolerance. For more information, visit http://releases.usnewswire.com/redir.asp?ReleaseID=56336&Link=http://www.sldn.org.

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