This year, historic steps have been taken to end the misguided Don't Ask, Don't Tell (DADT) policy. U.S. District Judge Virginia A. Philips declared the policy, and its deliberate exclusion of openly gay service members, a violation of the Constitution. The House included a repeal of DADT in its version of the Fiscal Year 2011 National Defense Authorization Act, a repeal for which I voted. The Pentagon released its long awaited study of the repeal's effect on service members, in which a clear majority of service members say the repeal will not harm the military.
A repeal of DADT should be accomplished legislatively, instead of through judicial decree. As an elected body, Congress has a great responsibility to move on a legislative repeal, without conditions. It is my hope that this discriminatory policy is ended soon.
Whenever anyone serves our country, regardless of their race, sex, socio-economic status, religion, or sexuality, we should honor and support their service, not force them to hide their identity in shame.
I am hopeful that after wise and thoughtful deliberation, the Senate will reconsider and pass a Defense Authorization Bill that includes a civil rights guarantee for those LGBT individuals who serve in our armed forces.
As Vice-Chair of the Congressional LGBT Equality Caucus, I have ardently supported legislation that advances the rights of LGBT individuals, and I will continue to do so in the future. It is my hope that in conjunction with the Senate, and with the leadership of the President Obama, the DADT Policy will be repealed soon, and in full.
Rep Honda is the Vice-Chair of the Congressional LGBT Equality Caucus.
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