Statement by NCLR Executive Director Kate Kendell, Esq.

(San Francisco, CA, July 22, 2011)—Today, President Barack Obama, U.S. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Mike Mullen notified Congress that the military is ready to end “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” the discriminatory two-decade old policy that bars lesbian, gay, and bisexual people from serving openly in the military.

Under the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” Repeal Act passed by Congress in December 2010, President Obama, Panetta, and Mullen were required to certify that the plan to repeal the policy is “consistent with the standards of military readiness, military effectiveness, unit cohesion, and recruiting and retention of the Armed Forces.”

The certification begins a 60-day transition period before the policy finally becomes history.

Statement by NCLR Executive Director Kate Kendell:

“This is historic. We are now living the very last moments of life under this shameful and stigmatizing policy that did nothing to advance the security or safety of this nation or any American. Many of our most able and dedicated servicemembers have suffered under an inexcusable policy of government-sanctioned discrimination. Today, they can feel some measure of solace that their sacrifice was not in vain. While more work lies ahead before all members of the LGBTQ community can openly serve, this is a true turning point that moves us closer to the day when our government fully lives up to the ideal of liberty and justice for all.”

The National Center for Lesbian Rights is a national legal organization committed to advancing the civil and human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people and their families through litigation, public policy advocacy, and public education.