Florida Lawmaker Introduces Legislation Urging Congress To Repeal Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell

Florida State Representative Rick Kriseman with President Obama

Florida State Representative Rick Kriseman with President Obama

A Florida lawmaker has filed an amendment in the Florida House of Representatives urging Congress to repeal Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell (DADT) and adopt a nondiscrimination policy. “It’s past time to end the failed policy of ’Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,’” Rick Kriseman, a Democrat said, noting that the policy has ended the careers of “a great number of lesbian and gay military servicemembers” and “hindered the military.”

Kriseman’s amendment urges Congress to adopt Rep. Patrick Murphy’s (D-PA) repeal bill or “similar legislation“:

That the Congress of the United States is urged to adopt, and the President of the United States is urged to sign into law, H.R. 1283, the Military Readiness Enhancement Act of 2009, or similar legislation, that institutes a policy of nondiscrimination based on sexual orientation with respect to service in the United States military and repeals the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy.

The legislation also notes the broad support for repealing DADT within the military and the public and cites numerous studies that have found that the policy has cost taxpayers millions of dollars and forced the military to discharge more than 13,000 qualified men and women during a time of war. “There are at least 65,000 gay and lesbian servicemembers on active military duty today and another 1 million gay and lesbian veterans who have served our nation proudly,” the bill says. “Every study authorized by the Department of Defense on the subject of the relationship between sexual orientation and participation in military service has shown that there is no correlation between sexual orientation and unit cohesion in the Armed Forces.”

Momentum for repealing DADT has slowed after Marine Commandant James Conway expressed his support for DADT and the Navy and the Army testified that a moratorium on discharges could complicate the Pentagon’s review of the policy. Still, in an interview with DC Agenda today, Murphy reiterated his belief that Congress would repeal DADT in this year’s defense authorization bill. “We usually don’t pass that into law until October of that year,” Murphy said. “October is about seven months away. That’s plenty of time for the folks to get ready to just put out to the troops that you need to respect not just one another’s race, one another creed, but also one another’s sexual orientation.”

Tomorrow, Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT), Carl Levin (D-MI), Mark Udall (D-CO), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), and Roland Burris (D-IL) will hold a press conference to introduce legislation to repeal DADT and the Military Personnel Subcommittee of the House Armed Services Committee will hold a hearing on DADT.