I guess support for ending the archaic DADT can’t get much higher than this, in which the Secretary of the Army, former Republican Senator John McHugh states he Army is ready for the repeal of DADT:
SANTA BARBARA, CA, October 26, 2009 – The Secretary of the Army, John McHugh, indicated this weekend that the Army is prepared to lift the ban on openly gay service if the Commander-in-Chief and the Congress decide to end the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy, a prospect that has gathered steam in recent weeks. McHugh, formerly a Republican congressman from the conservative 23rd district of New York, is the highest official inside the Pentagon to express such support. He told the Army Times on Sunday that there was no reason to fear that major difficulties would result from lifting the ban, and that he would help implement the policy change when the time comes. “The Army has a big history of taking on similar issues,” he said, with “predictions of doom and gloom that did not play out.” He also suggested that repeal may come in phases, with early action involving, for example, allowing open gays to serve in some occupations and not others.
It’s good to see even the leader of the Army supporting the repeal, along with Gen. Colin Powell and over 100 retired Admirals and Generals. With historic hearings of the topic finally scheduled in Congress, and with widespread congressional and public support for the repeal of DADT, it’s time for action.
Senator Kristen Gillibrand, leader of the efforts in Congress along with Rep. Patrick Murphy, have secured over 180 co-sponsors of a bill to repeal DADT, including leaders of Congress. From Senator Gillibrand:
Since 1994, almost 13,000 gay servicemen and women have been discharged from the military based not on their performance but on their sexual orientation. In 2009 alone, we’ve had more than 400 of our brave men and women leave the military under Don’t Ask Don’t Tell. This is simply unacceptable. It is time to repeal this outdated and immoral policy once and for all and end the ban on gays and lesbians serving openly and honestly in our armed forces.
To that end, I’ve secured the commitment from Senator Carl Levin, Chair of the Armed Services Committee, to hold the first hearing on the policy since it began 16 years ago. Chairman Levin expects to hold the hearing soon and it’s my hope that it will be instrumental in demonstrating the level of support that exists for repeal not only throughout the country — where polls consistently indicate that solid majorities oppose the policy — but within the military itself.
Tomorrow, the President will sign the Hate Crimes Bill into law.
Unfortunately, the protections provided to gay victims of hate do not transfer to gays in the military as long as DADT exists.
Let’s hope that in the next few months we’ll see additional freedoms provided to our gay brothers and sisters in the military.