Santa Barbara, Calif. – The following statement can be attributed to Aaron Belkin, Executive Director of The Palm Center:
“On November 7, it was reported that Chairman Levin first suggested that ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ (DADT) repeal language may be cut from the FY2011 National Defense Authorization Act. Yesterday, he reiterated this point. What is really happening is that Senator McCain is orchestrating a heist on the Senate floor. Senator McCain is holding all military spending hostage in order to force Senator Levin to cut the repeal of DADT from the Defense Authorization bill. National security should not be compromised over prejudice and politics.
Legislation to conditionally repeal ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ was voted on and approved by the Senate Armed Services Committee. The Palm Center has long believed that NDAA is the best legislative vehicle for repeal and this remains the case. Our role has included looking at every legislative option that could be utilized to keep it there. Critical to this moment is ensuring that no deal permanently cuts repeal language from the bill. Yet Senator McCain is trying to pull the worst kind of disingenuous politicking. His only intent is the continued discrimination of gay and lesbian service members, even though discrimination undermines the military. Every group involved in this process is doing all they can to keep the repeal language in NDAA. The question at this point is not when, but how. If repeal is not accomplished now, we could be looking at years of continued discrimination against loyal Americans serving their country.”