May 26 Leadership Conference Letter Re Murphy DADT Amendment

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Officers Chairperson Dorothy I. Height National Council of Negro Women Vice Chairpersons Judith L. Lichtman

National Partnership for Women &  Families Karen K. Narasaki  Asia  A sian Amer eric ican anJust stic ice e Cent nter er William L. Taylor Citizen’s Commission on Civil Rights Treasurer Gerald W. McEntee  Am  A mer eric ican anFedera ratio tion of State, ate, County & Municipal Employees Executive Committee BarbaraArnwine Lawyer’s Committee For Civil Rights Under Law  Arle  A rleneHolt Baker  AFL  A FL-CIO Ron Gettelfinger International Union, United  Aut  A utom omobileWor orke kers of Amer eric ica a Marcia Greenberger National Women’s Law Center Linda D. Hallman  Am  A mer eric ican anAss ssoc ocia iatio tion of University Women  And  A ndre rew w J. Impara rato to

May 26, 2010

REPEAL “DON’T ASK, DON’T TELL”

Dear Representative: On behalf of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, we write to express our strong support for the Murphy Amendment to H.R. 5136, the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2011. The Murphy Amendment w would ould set into motio motion n the long-overdue repeal of the military’s “Don’t “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” (DADT (DADT)) policy. We view this issue as a civil and human human rights priority. priority. As such, our voting records for the 111th  Congress will reflect your position.

 Am  A mer eric ican anAss ssoc ocia iatio tion of People with Disabilities BenjaminJealous NAACP JacquelineJohnson National Congress of  Am  A mer eric ican anIn Indi dian ans Michael B. Keegan People For The American Way Floyd Mori Japanese American Citizens League Marc H. Morial National Urban League Janet Murguia National Council of La Raza Debra Ness National Partnership for Women and  Families Mary Rose Oakar  Am  A mer eric ican an-A -Ara rab b Ant ntiiDiscrimination Committee Terry O’Neill National Organization for Women JohnPayton NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc.

Whena itmoral was first in 1993, we DADT believedturned that the of the DADT was wrong from  both and proposed practical standpoint. its policy back on principle that people who are willing and able to do a job should should be given a fair opportun opportunity ity to do it. This is not only one of the most important principles behind the struggle, throughout our nation’s history, to guarantee the civil and human rights of all people – it is also a matter of sound military strategy and common common sense as well. At the same time, DADT also ignored ignored decades of evidence, including the examples of military forces in many other countries, and even many compelling individual cases in the U.S. armed forces, which clearly showed that gays and lesbians could serve openly and honorably in the military.

Barry  AAR  A ARRand P Dennis Van Roekel National Education Association  Ant  A ntho honyRomer ero o  Am  A mer eric ican anCiv ivilil Libe berties es Union on Thomas A. Saenz Mexican American Legal Defense & Educational Fund David Saperstein Religious Action Center for ReformJudaism Shanna L. Smith National Fair Housing Alliance Joe Solmonese Human Rights Campaign  And  A ndre rew w L. Ste tern rn ServiceEmployees International Union RandiWeingarten  Am  A mer eric ican anFedera ratio tion n of Teachers Mary G. Wilson League of Women Voters

 policy has been drastically different. More than 13,000 men and women have been unnecessarily removed from military service – and in many cases, after they were subjected to highly intrusive intrusive investigations investigations or harassment tolerated tolerated under the policy. In addition, we will never know how many other bright, motivated men and women would have been willing to serve, but were deterred by the policy from ever signing up in the first place.

Compliance/Enforcement Committee Chairperson Karen K. Narasaki

 Asia  A sian Am&er eric anJust stic ice e Cent nter er President CEO  ican Wade J. Henderson

Since its inception, the policy of DADT has failed miserably to achieve achieve its objectives. While supporters claimed that it would allow gays and lesbians to continue serving in the military, as long as they were quiet about their sexual orientation, our nation’s experience with the

In 2010, the policy of DADT is not only wrong and ineffective, but also simply incomprehensible. Societal attitudes attitudes about homosexuality, both inside inside and outsi outside de our military, have changed drastically since 1993, to the point where sexual orientation is simply no longer a matter of concern to an ever-growing majority of people.1 

1

 See, e.g., Washington Post/ABC News poll, Feb. 4-8, 2010 (finding 75% of Americans support allowing openly gay Americans to serve in the military); Zogby International, “Opinions of Military Personnel on Sexual Minorities in the Military,” 2006 (finding 73% of returning Iraq and Afghanistan veterans personally comfortable around gays and lesbians).

 

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The Murphy Amendment allows Congress to finally do its part in bringing DADT to an end, while still giving the Department of Defense the time it needs to study and properly implement implement the change. It delays the effective date of the change until the Pentagon’s study has been completed and the President, Secretary of Defense, and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff have reviewed the study and have made the necessary policy changes. As such, it fully addresses the concern concern,, previously expressed by Defense Defense Secretary Robert Gates, that legislative action could cut the Pentagon’s implementation study short – while giving them the room to move forward with repeal once the study is complete. We strongly urge you to support support the Murphy Murphy Amendment. Thank you for your consideration. If you have any questions, please contact Senior Counsel Rob Randhava at (202) 466-6058. Sincerely,

Wade Henderson President & CEO

Nancy Zirkin Executive Vice President

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