Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Atlanta City Council Calls for Repeal of 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell,' City Becomes First in South to Call for End to Gay Ban

10/3/2006 3:58:00 PM


To: National Desk

Contact: Steve Ralls of Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, 202-328-3244 ext. 116 or sralls@sldn.org

ATLANTA, Oct. 3 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- In an 11-2 vote, the Atlanta City Council passed a resolution on Oct. 2 calling on Congress to repeal the federal "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" ban on lesbian, gay and bisexual service members. The resolution, which calls for passage of the Military Readiness Enhancement Act, a Congressional bill to repeal the law, was introduced by City Council member Anne Fauver and was supported by both Georgia Equality and the Georgia chapter of American Veterans for Equal Rights (AVER).

"Communities across America are demanding that Congress place military readiness ahead of discrimination," said C. Dixon Osburn, executive director of Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (SLDN). "SLDN salutes Georgia Equality and American Veterans for Equal Rights for their tireless efforts in building grassroots momentum for repeal. Our nation must treat all service members with dignity and respect, but we deny that honor to our lesbian, gay and bisexual personnel by keeping 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' on the books."

The Atlanta City Council joins city councils in Chicago, New York, San Francisco, West Hollywood, St. Louis and Cathedral City in calling for repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell." The California State Legislature also recently approved a resolution calling for an end to the ban.

"Like all Georgians, gays and lesbians have many differing views about the war in Iraq," said Kathleen Womack, chair of Georgia Equality. "However, we all recognize that our fight for true equality requires an end to discrimination against gays by the federal government. The action of the Atlanta City Council puts Atlanta at the forefront of the national effort to improve our nation's security by allowing the armed forces to truly recruit from America's best and brightest, to include those who are gay and lesbian."

Danny Ingram, chapter president of Georgia AVER, stated that "Georgia has over 33,000 lesbian and gay veterans of the U.S. military. The Atlanta City Council, and Councilmember Fauver in particular, have made a significant statement in support of the sacrifice and service by these patriotic Georgians."

The resolution will be sent to Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin for her signature.

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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://www.sldn.org.

http://www.usnewswire.com/

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/© 2006 U.S. Newswire 202-347-2770/

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