HRC Praises Introduction Of Military Readiness Enhancement Act

On March 2nd, The Human Rights Campaign praised bipartisan
introduction of the Military Readiness Enhancement Act in the U.S.
House. The measure would repeal "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," the ban on gay,
lesbian and bisexual troops and allow them to serve openly in the
military.

"Americans don't care whether the person who catches Bin Laden is gay or
straight; they just want him caught," said HRC Vice President of Policy
David M. Smith. "This bill would allow highly trained and patriotic
troops to continue serving while freeing up resources that could be
spent on things like adequate armor but that are currently being spent
on enforcing an unfair policy."

According to a recent government report, the policy has cost nearly $200
million for the replacement and training of personnel who had to be
recruited when gay, lesbian and bisexual soldiers were ousted from the
military. The study by the Government Accounting Office also showed that
nearly 800 specialists with critical skills have been fired, including
322 linguists, 54 of whom specialized in Arabic.

The report does not include costs associated with discharging officers
or trained, skilled specialists – meaning that the actual cost is likely
much higher. According to the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network
(SLDN), more than 10,000 gay and lesbian Americans have been discharged
from service under the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy.

"We laud Congress member Marty Meehan and the bipartisan group of
representatives who have joined in supporting this measure," added
Smith. "We also commend the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network and
other allies for their work on behalf of GLBT troops nationwide. We will
continue to stand proudly by their side to push for an end to policies
that put our nation's security at risk."

Rep. Marty Meehan, (D- Mass), ranking Democrat on the House Armed
Services Subcommittee on Terrorism, Conventional Threats and
Capabilities, introduced the measure at a press conference today. He is
joined by more than 50 Republican and Democratic co-sponsors who support
this bill.

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