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May 29, 2007 Quickie Link: California Senate Calling for End of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell"
By vanrozenheim

(USA) - The California Senate on Thursday passed a resolution asking the federal government to abandon its discriminatory military policy against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) Americans. SJR 6 calls for the end of Don't Ask, Don't Tell," which prevents LGBT people from serving openly in the military. Senators approved the resolution with a 23-12 vote.

"Talented, dedicated service members are forced to leave the military or lie about their personal and family lives simply because of their sexual orientation," said EQCA Executive Director Geoff Kors. "We should honor and respect every service member, without exception, for choosing to defend and protect our nation. Treating LGBT soldiers any differently should not be an option."

SJR 6, authored by Sen. Christine Kehoe, D-San Diego, and sponsored by Equality California, asks Congress and President George W. Bush to adopt the Military Readiness Enhancement Act of 2007 (H.R. 1246). The federal bill would repeal "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" and prohibit discrimination in the military based on sexual orientation. This resolution is co-authored by a total of 10 California lawmakers, and is part of EQCA's "Empowering Our Communities" legislative agenda.

"The ability to recruit and retain some of the best and brightest Americans for the armed forces is severely hindered by excluding an entire group of military personnel based on their sexual orientation," said Sen. Kehoe. "Countless LGBT people have honorably served our country throughout history, and continue to do so. They have earned their right to serve."

An estimated 65,000 LGBT service members are currently on active duty, and the U.S. has about 1 million LGBT veterans. Under "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," more than 11,000 service members have been discharged, including many who have held critical occupations.

Equality California is a nonprofit, nonpartisan, grassroots-based, statewide advocacy organization whose mission is to achieve equality and civil rights of all lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) Californians. eqca.org

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