A key Senate committee has agreed to
hold a hearing on repeal of the military's ban on open gay and
lesbian service in the fall.
New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand
made the announcement in a statement Monday.
The Senate Armed Services Committee
will hold the hearing, Gillibrand, a Democrat, announced.
“This policy is wrong for our
national security and wrong for the moral foundation upon which our
country was founded,” the freshman senator said.
The military's ban on open gay service,
also known as “don't ask, don't tell,” mandates discharge for gay
and lesbian service members who do not remain celibate or closeted.
According to the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (SLDN), a group
that lobbies for repeal of the law, 320 soldiers have been fired
under President Obama's watch.
“Numerous military leaders are
telling us that the times have changed,” Gillibrand added. “'Don't
ask, don't tell' is an unfair, outdated measure that violates the
civil rights of some of our bravest, most heroic men and women. By
repealing this policy, we will increase America's strength – both
militarily and morally.”
Candidate Obama pledged he would repeal
the law, but President Obama has refused to consider ending
discharges with an executive order, saying only Congress can rein in
Approximately 13,000 service members
have been fired for being gay since the policy was enacted in 1993.