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NOW Action Alert

Tell Senators NOW: Repeal Don't Ask, Don't Tell Military Policy

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Call and send an email message to your senators urging them to repeal Don't Ask, Don't Tell (DADT), the discriminatory restriction that has pushed more than 14,000 lesbians and gay men out of the military.

The Senate is poised to vote early this week on whether to proceed with a Defense Authorization bill that contains a provision repealing DADT, which already passed in the House. Sen. John McCain (D-Ariz.) has threatened to filibuster the entire bill in order to block the repeal, and we need 60 votes to stop him.

Use NOW's sample message, or write one of your own, calling for the Senate to repeal Don't Ask Don't Tell. Because the vote could happen very soon, it would be helpful to put a call into your senators' offices immediately. The Capitol switchboard number is 202-224-3121 or find your senators' office numbers below.

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The Don't Ask, Don't Tell (DADT) policy -- which demands the discharge of any "out" lesbian, gay or bisexual service member from the U.S. military -- is a discriminatory restriction that undermines the readiness of our troops, destabilizes unit morale, and jeopardizes our national security. It must be repealed now!

In addition to discriminating against individuals on the basis of sexual orientation, DADT disproportionately affects women and people of color. Service Women's Action Network reports that while women make up 15 percent of the armed forces, they account for 34 percent of total discharges. Moreover, DADT is used against women in the practice known as "lesbian bating." Military women are intimidated into unwanted sexual intercourse, and if they refuse, they are threatened with being outed as lesbians. The policy also negatively impacts racial minorities who represent 29.4 percent of active duty service members, yet make up 45 percent of discharged personnel under DADT.

These unnecessary discharges not only cost military highly qualified personnel but also cost millions in taxpayer dollars. Since its enactment, DADT is estimated to have lost the military between $290 million to more than a half a billion dollars. It takes time and money to find and train new personnel -- estimated replacement costs can range between $22,000 to $43,000 per person.

Such measures are wasteful and contradict the views of a majority of the public. A Washington Post poll earlier this year shows that 75 percent of Americans believe that lesbians and gay men should be allowed to openly serve in the military.

Our country and our service members cannot afford to wait any longer for President Obama to act on his promise to lift DADT. The bottom line is that DADT is a discriminatory, outdated, costly, and overall failed policy that has no place in the contemporary world. Act now and ask your senators to show their support for all our troops by repealing DADT as soon as possible. Furthermore, consideration of a policy to reinstate lesbian and gay men who have been pushed out of service under DADT should be adopted.

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