Rep. Larsen Co-Sponsors DADT Repeal

Dec 14, 2010

PubliCola

By Josh Feit

Armed Services Committee member U.S. Rep. Rick Larsen issues statement calling for DADT repeal.

As the Don’t Ask Don’t Tell repeal that’s part of the stalled defense budget languishes in the senate, the house introduced a stand-alone repeal bill today.

The bill, similar to the stand-alone repeal that U.S. Sens. Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Joe Lieberman (I-CT) introduced last week, is co-sponsored by house armed services committee member U.S. Rep. Rick Larsen (D-WA, 2). Larsen, ironically, just beat conservative opponent John Koster, a social conservative whose campaign was run by virulent gay-marriage opponent, Larry Stickney (campaign manager for Protect Marriage Washington, which fought 2009′s domestic-partnership initiative).

Larsen issued a lengthy statement today:

It is past time for us to move forward and repeal Don’t Ask Don’t Tell. All qualified men and women who are willing to serve their country should be able to volunteer for the military.

I am cosponsoring legislation to repeal Don’t Ask Don’t Tell because I am disappointed in the Senate’s failure to move forward with ending this harmful policy. At a time when we have troops on the ground in Afghanistan and Iraq, we cannot afford inaction on this harmful policy.

Keeping Don’t Ask Don’t Tell intact will only harm our military readiness by depriving our troops of service members who are providing basic and advanced skills toward our nation’s security.

Both the Pentagon and service members agree: the risk of repeal to overall military effectiveness is low. The Pentagon recently released a comprehensive and objective study that surveyed 400,000 service members.  Over 90 percent of these men and women in the field said that working with a service member who they believed to be gay did not hurt the performance of their brigade or platoon.

The Pentagon’s report articulated that the military is ready and able to implement repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell in a thoughtful and prepared way that will not threaten our military readiness.

I call on my colleagues in Congress to move forward with repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell so we can allow all qualified men and women who are willing to put their lives on the line to serve their country.