For Immediate Release
July 14, 2008
Contact: Steve Ralls
(202) 467-8180, ext. 214 / email@example.com
Upcoming Congressional Hearing on “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”
Group Calls Federal Ban “One of the Most Anti-Family Laws on the Books Today”
Washington, DC – Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) today applauded Congresswoman Susan Davis (D-CA), Chairwoman of the Personnel Subcommittee of the House Armed Services Committee, for a scheduled hearing on the federal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” ban on lesbian, gay and bisexual service members. Congresswoman Davis has announced she will hold a hearing on the law on July 23, marking the first time since the law was implemented that stand-alone hearings have been held on the issue.
“’Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ is one of the most anti-family laws on the books today,” the organization will say in written testimony to be presented for submission to the committee. “Virtually no one in a service member’s life – from parents to partners to friends and fellow troops – is untouched or unaffected by the law. When the estimated 65,000 now serving is multiplied by the family members and friends in their lives, the impact of the law is unquestionably significant. Those who serve, and those who love the men and women who serve, deserve better than ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.’”
The organization goes on to note that, “The law denies patriotic Americans the opportunity to serve our country and also denies service members and their families critical benefits, protections and rights and responsibilities that come along with military service.”
PFLAG also notes that the law explicitly forbids service personnel from entering into civil unions, marriage or domestic partnerships, denying lesbian, gay and bisexual personnel the protections that such local and state laws provide. “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” the organization also points out, makes second-parent adoption difficult, as well as enrolling children in the military benefits and healthcare system.
“These situations, and countless others, disrespect those who service and sacrifice so much for our nation,” PFLAG says in the written remarks. “They also point to the broad impact of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ on so many of our fellow countrymen, not only those who wear our nation’s uniform.”
According to government statistics, 12,000 service members have been dismissed under the law, including nearly 800 with skills deemed ‘mission-critical’ by the Pentagon. Of those dismissed, 322 were language experts, five dozen of whom were proficient in Arabic.
“When the estimated 65,000 now serving is multiplied by the family members and friends in their lives, the impact of the law is unquestionably significant,” PFLAG notes in its testimony. “Those who serve, and those who love the men and women who serve, deserve better than ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.’”
# # #
Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) promotes the health and well-being of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender persons, their families and friends through: support, to cope with an adverse society; education, to enlighten an ill-informed public; and advocacy, to end discrimination and to secure equal civil rights. PFLAG provides opportunity for dialogue about sexual orientation and gender identity, and acts to create a society that is healthy and respectful of human diversity.