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DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz’s Statement on Official End of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”

In recognition of the official end of the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy, which has prohibited gay, lesbian, and bisexual Americans from serving their country openly in the U.S. military, DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz released the following statement:

“Today, our nation adds another achievement in our promise to Americans that we are the land that guarantees freedom and equality for all of its citizens, as we formally put an end to the discriminatory ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ policy of the U.S. military. Since its enactment in 1993, ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ has led to the unjust discharge of thousands of qualified gay, lesbian, and bisexual service members who were ready to give their lives for their country, even as they were asked to deny who they truly were. These are people like Jonathan Hopkins, a West Point graduate who was deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan three times and earned three Bronze Stars only to be honorably discharged in August 2010 because of 'Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.'

“This policy undermined our military readiness and weakened our national security, costing our nation hundreds of millions of dollars with the needless loss of mission-critical service men and women, military personnel, linguists, and other specialists whose skills are vital to the success of our armed services. It was dishonorable and fundamentally un-American, and we celebrate today as it officially becomes a relic of the past.

“I applaud President Obama for his successful leadership and steadfast commitment to putting an end to ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,’ and I was proud to join my fair-minded colleagues in Congress who supported him in that effort last year. But most of all, to all of those in our nation’s armed forces who have been forced to hide their true identities, thank you for your service to our country. Today, we stand with you as our country takes this important step forward.”