Yesterday the Senate failed to repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell (DADT),” a law that calls for all gay and lesbian people who serve in the armed forces to be discharged without benefits if their sexual orientation is revealed. Supporters voted 56-43 in favor of starting debate on the 2011 Defense authorization bill, short of the 60 needed. A Republican-led filibuster blocked efforts to reverse DADT, shelving an Obama administration priority until after the November election.
In response to the delayed repeal, National Black Justice Coalition Executive Director Sharon Lettman-Hicks stated,
“The battle to repeal ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ has been stalled temporarily, but the fight is not over. We thank our ally organizations and informed leadership for staying the course to reverse an unjust and outdated law that compromises the moral integrity of our armed services by forcing gay and lesbian servicemembers to lie about who they are and who they love. More than thirteen-thousand servicemembers have been discharged due to DADT, including a disproportionate number of Black women. Those women have been left without health benefits and pensions and with a stained professional record simply for being lesbians. We look forward to the day when, even in our short-term memory, this will seem absurd--the fact that people debated whether servicemembers who sacrifice their lives every day to keep our country safe also have the right to be honest about who they are without becoming victims of government-sanctioned identity suppression.”
The National Black Justice Coalition (NBJC) is a civil rights organization dedicated to empowering Black lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people. NBJC's mission is to end racism and homophobia.