Washington, D.C. — U.S. Representative Rick Larsen (WA-02) released the following statement today in support of an agreement reached by the White House and Congressional leaders to repeal ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.’ The Department of Defense announced in February that it was launching a comprehensive study on the potential impact of repealing ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ and determining how best to implement a new policy that would prohibit discrimination. The compromise legislative language will repeal the ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ policy while allowing the Department of Defense to finish conducting this important review.
“All qualified men and women who are willing to put their lives on the line to protect our country should be allowed to join our military. It is time for us to move forward and end this discriminatory policy.
“At a time when our soldiers are fighting wars in two different countries and serving multiple extended deployments, Don’t Ask Don’t Tell unacceptably hurts our military readiness.
“I endorse Congress moving forward with the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell with the compromise of delaying implementation until after the Department of Defense completes its review on how to make necessary changes to its policies. This compromise will allow the Department of Defense to continue receiving critical input from servicemembers and their families.
According to the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, more than 13,500 service members have been kicked out of the military since Don't Ask, Don't Tell took effect in 1993. In the last five years, the military has discharged nearly 800 mission-critical troops, including dozens of Arabic and Farsi linguists who were essential to military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.