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posted Friday, May 21, 2010 - Volume 38 Issue 21
Jewish Groups to Congress: Repeal Unjust and Discriminatory Law
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Jewish Groups to Congress: Repeal Unjust and Discriminatory Law

Jewish Groups to Congress: Repeal Unjust and Discriminatory Law
 
WASHINGTON – A coalition of 10 major Jewish organizations led by the Jewish Council for Public Affairs (JCPA) today wrote to members of the U. S. Senate and House of Representatives and encouraged them to repeal the “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” military policy.
 
The letter to Congress states, “Advanced militaries throughout the world, including many of our NATO allies and Israel, allow gay, lesbian and bisexual personnel to serve openly.  It is time for the United States to repeal the “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” and we encourage you and colleagues to act swiftly.”

The Jewish community letter also notes that, “Today, 75% of Americans, a majority of both Democrats and Republicans, believe openly lesbian and gay citizens should be able to serve in the U.S. military.”
 
Joining JCPA in its letter to Senators and Representatives were the American Jewish Committee, American Jewish Congress, Anti-Defamation League, B’nai B’rith International, Jewish Labor Committee, Jewish Reconstructionist Federation, National Council of Jewish Women, Union for Reform Judaism and United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism.
 
This is not the first time this year that JCPA and the organized Jewish community has weighed in on “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell.  At the 2010 Plenum in Dallas, JCPA adopted a resolution establishing the repeal of “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” as one of the organized Jewish community relations community’s top priorities.  
 
The resolution resolves that the community relations field should:
  • Advocate for policies and programs including repeal of the “Don't Ask, Don't Tell” law so that lesbian, gay, and bisexual Americans can serve openly in the military.
  • Foster dialogue about this issue with those who hold opposing viewpoints while building and participating in coalitions that advocate for repeal of the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” law and for policies and programs that will allow lesbian and gay Americans to openly serve openly in the military, without discrimination.
A full copy of the 2010 JCPA Plenum Resolution on Sexual Orientation Discrimination in the Military can be found at: 
http://engage.jewishpublicaffairs.org/images/
Resolution%20on%20Sexual%20Orientation
%20Discrimination
%20in%20the%20Military.pdf
 
Text of the full Jewish community letter to Members of the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives is below:
 
May 25, 2010
 
On behalf of the organized Jewish community, we the undersigned organizations urge you to repeal the discriminatory law known as “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” (DADT).  We believe this policy is unjust and become an anomaly among western nations.  Advanced militaries throughout the world, including many of our NATO allies and Israel, allow gay, lesbian and bisexual personnel to serve openly.  It is time for the United States to repeal the “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” and we encourage you and colleagues to act swiftly. 
 
 The 1993 “Don't Ask, Don't Tell” policy was proffered as a compromise that held the promise that would allow gays and lesbians to serve in the military if they did not reveal their sexual orientation. Established under the premise of discretion and privacy, the policy still barred lesbian, gay, and bisexual people from serving openly in the military. Any service member that revealed his or her homosexuality would be discharged. However, the policy also ostensibly precluded military officials from investigating soldiers suspected of being homosexual. Since the enactment of the DADT policy, more than 13,000 individuals have been discharged from the U.S. armed services due to their sexual orientation – a rate similar to before the DADT law.
 
Since the implementation of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” public opinion on this issue has changed dramatically.  In 1994, only 44% of the Americans agreed gay and lesbian service members should be allowed to serve openly.  Today, 75% of Americans, a majority of both Democrats and Republicans, believe openly lesbian and gay citizens should be able to serve in the U.S. military. 
 
We will continue to build and participate in coalitions that advocate for repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” and for policies and programs that will allow lesbian and gay Americans to openly serve openly in the military, without discrimination.  We encourage you and your colleagues to do your part, by repealing the underlying law this year. 
 
Sincerely,
 
Jewish Council for Public Affairs
American Jewish Committee
American Jewish Congress
Anti-Defamation League
B’nai B’rith International
Jewish Labor Committee
Jewish Reconstructionist Federation
National Council of Jewish Women
Union for Reform Judaism
United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism
 
JCPA, the public affairs arm of the organized Jewish community, serves as the national coordinating and advisory body for the 14 national and 125 local agencies comprising the field of Jewish community relations.

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