Washington, D.C.– Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva, co-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, today hailed the House vote to repeal the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy – in place since 1993 – that directs military services to discharge anyone who publicly discusses their homosexuality or bisexuality. Grijalva, who voted for repeal, has opposed the policy for years and is joined by Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Adm. Mike Mullen and other military leaders who have publicly called for the policy to end.
“There is no practical reason to continue to discharge intelligent, dedicated men and women from our armed forces based solely on their orientation,” Grijalva said. “When we end the promising careers of thousands of Americans whose only offense is violating an antiquated standard that has no military relevance, we only hurt ourselves. Don’t ask, don’t tell never kept us safer or made our military more effective, and it’s time to end it.”
According to the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, more than 14,000 servicemembers have been discharged because of the policy since 1993. That figure includes at least 64 Arabic language translators, who are often hard to find and train to military standards.
“Discharging soldiers, translators, technicians and others who serve our country because they’re gay or bisexual simply doesn’t make sense, and this vote is about having the kind of modern, effective, cohesive armed services we need,” Grijalva said. “The Senate should approve this bill without delay and give every American an equal chance to pursue their desire to serve.”