New York City Bar Association on Repealing “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”

Following yesterday’s release of the Department of Defense’s report on “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” the New York City Bar Association sent the following letter, signed by City Bar President Samuel W. Seymour, to Representative Carl Levin, Chair, U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee, and Senator John McCain, Ranking Minority Member, U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee.

Dear Senator Levin and Senator McCain:

With yesterday’s release of a much-anticipated report from the United States Department of Defense, the New York City Bar Association renews its call for the repeal of “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” and urges the Senate to do so before it adjourns for the year. Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Navy Admiral Mike Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, based on the findings of a 9-month study led by DOD General Counsel Jeh Johnson and U.S. Army General Carter Ham, have made the case for immediate Congressional repeal, including outlining the risks associated with continued judicial scrutiny of this unsupportable law. Buttressed by the report’s finding that over two-thirds of servicemembers do not object to gays and lesbians serving openly, it is now evident that repeal can be accomplished through a timely and orderly implementation process that will not impact military readiness or harm unit cohesion. Repeal will, however, finally lift a law that has caused the discharge of over 13,000 servicemembers, including over 300 language experts, based on nothing more than their sexual orientation. The message from the courts, the public and now, the military, is clear: the time for the Senate to repeal DADT is now.

Samuel W. Seymour

Read the City Bar’s February 2010 “Report to the United States Senate Armed Services Committee in Support of the Repeal of the ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ Policy” here.