The California State Senate passed a resolution this week calling on the US Congress to repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” which bans gay and lesbian individuals from serving in the military. The resolution (see PDF) passed on a 23-16 vote and will go before the State Assembly in January.
Senator Christine Kehoe (D-San Diego) introduced the measure urging the federal government to pass the Military Readiness Enhancement Act of 2009. “To be a quality soldier you must display courage, patriotism, commitment and ability – none of which have anything to do with sexual orientation. Overturning this shameful policy will help ensure that gay and lesbian Americans will be afforded the same opportunities as any other American who wants to serve our country,” she said in an Equality California press release .
Instituted by former President Bill Clinton in 1993, “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” prohibits the military from inquiring about a service member’s sexual orientation, but also calls for the discharge of anyone who acknowledges being gay. Since its enactment more than 13,000 service members have been discharged under the policy, reports the Desert Sun. About 69 percent of Americans favor repealing the policy, according to a June Gallup poll. In July, Senator Kirstin Gillibrand (D-NY) announced that the Senate Armed Services Committee will hold a hearing on the policy in the fall.