End Don't Ask, Don't Tell Now (FL-Sen)

05/27/2010 11:24 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

This week, the White House made a big announcement: they would back a vote to repeal "Don't Ask, Don't Tell." In my opinion, it is a vote that is long overdue. My opponents, however, both oppose changing this intolerant policy. For far too long, the Pentagon's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy has dishonored those who serve our country so nobly. While yesterday's signals from the White House are promising, the fight to finally repeal this policy has only just begun. The time to repeal "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" is now - we can't delay any further. Click here to join me today and call on Congress to take immediate action on "Don't Ask, Don't Tell."

We must not let political games or ideological squabbles overwhelm our best chance to bring about this long-sought change. The current policy is not only discriminatory to so many Americans, but is wrong for our national security. Floridians deserve to know - Would Governor Crist and Speaker Rubio vote against the repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" pending in Congress right now? Since 1994, over 13,000 service members have been discharged under this law. This is reform that truly embodies the principles this nation was founded upon. I ask you to stand with our brave servicemen and women and join me in the fight to repeal "Don't Ask, Don't Tell." Those who protect our nation deserve nothing less. This policy puts us in the company of countries like Cuba, China, Iran, North Korea, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and Syria that don't allow LGBT citizens to serve in their military. Arguments that repealing "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" would undermine our security are undercut by the fact that countries like Australia, Canada, Germany, Israel, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and dozens of others all allow their LGBT citizens to openly serve in the military. These countries seem pretty secure to me.

A Gallup poll released earlier this month found that 70 percent of Americans favor allowing gays and lesbians to serve openly in the military. The New York Times reported: "A Post/ABC News poll showed that 75 percent of Americans support ending 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell.' One from the New York Times put support for gay men and lesbians serving openly at 70 percent. And 57 percent surveyed by Quinnipiac University favored repealing the 16-year-old law. Gallup shows that 70 percent of the American people are in line with that sentiment in a poll released on Monday." Another poll from CNN released today said that 78% of Americans support gays openly serving in the military. In this poll, even the majority of Republicans want this change.

On Monday, Governor Crist told reporters, "I think the current policy has worked pretty well for America. I don't know why there is any need for change at this time." Does that mean he would vote against this repeal in the Senate? I have been a longstanding cosponsor of legislation to repeal this discriminatory policy. Yesterday, I posted a petition on my website that calls on Congress to take immediate action to repeal "Don't Ask, Don't Tell." I am the only progressive in this race standing up to repeal this policy. I hope you will join me today.