Cantwell Hails End of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’

Cantwell: Discriminatory DADT policy ‘relegated to the history books’

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) hailed the end of the ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ policy on gays in the military. The repeal legislation that President Obama signed into law on December 22, 2010 became effective today.

“Today, at long last, the discriminatory ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ policy ends for good. I was proud to vote to repeal this discriminatory policy, which for too long denied thousands of U.S. service members the chance to serve their country with pride and harmed our armed forces’ ability to recruit and maintain personnel with skills essential to protecting national security. Beginning today, no other individual committed to serving his or her country in the military will lose his or her job due to their sexual orientation.

“It’s been a long road to victory for all the brave men and women who stood up against this discriminatory policy. I want to commend two women in particular from my home state of Washington, whose combined struggles to rejoin the military under this policy and serve their country spanned nearly two decades and helped contribute to today’s victory. Retired U.S. Army Colonel Grethe Cammermeyer of Whidbey Island and Air Force Major Margaret Witt of Spokane both were honorably discharged under the ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ policy and fought drawn-out court battles to rejoin their military units. Cammermeyer’s struggle was even the inspiration for a television movie, Serving in Silence, which brought this issue out of the shadows and educated millions on the injustice of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.’

“Because of brave Americans like Grethe Cammermeyer and Margaret Witt standing up and fighting, ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ will be relegated to the history books.”