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Monday, June 22, 2009

House Dems urge Obama to halt gay discharges from the military

Source: The Boston Globe
By Bryan Bender
WASHINGTON _ In the most vocal plea for the White House to take the lead in allowing gays to serve openly in the military, 76 Democratic lawmakers today urged President Obama to use his executive powers to order a halt to military discharges under the controversial "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" law and work aggressively with Congress to pass new legislation to overturn what they describe as a discriminatory policy that harms national security.
"We urge you to exercise the maximum discretion legally possible in administering Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell until Congress repeals the law," states the letter, organized by Rep. Alcee Hastings, a Democrat of California. "To this end, we ask that you direct the Armed Services not to initiate any investigation of service personnel to determine their sexual orientation, and that you instruct them to disregard third party accusations that do not allege violations of the Uniform Code of Military Justice."
A recent study by the Palm Center, a public policy think tank at the University of California, Santa Barbara, argued that Obama has the authority as commander-in-chief to suspend the gay discharge process through an executive order.
But only Congress can make a permanent change, by overturning the 1993 law that established the current policy -- which stipulates that gays and lesbians can serve in uniform only if their sexual orientation remains secret. And so far, virtually no Republicans in the House of Representatives or Senate have expressed a willingness to overturn the law, while many conservative Democrats are also considered wary of doing so. LinkHere


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