In marking the tenth anniversary of the
repeal of “Don't Ask, Don't Tell,” President Joe Biden reiterated
his call for passage of the Equality Act.
“Don't Ask, Don't Tell” prohibited
lesbian, gay, and bisexual troops from serving openly.
On December 22, 2010, then-President
Barack Obama signed legislation that repealed the policy. The
legislation took effect on September 20, 2011.
In a statement, Biden described the
policy as “a great injustice” and called for passage of the
Equality Act, an LGBT protections bill that stalled in the Senate
after clearing the House.
“Ten years ago today, a great
injustice was remedied and a tremendous weight was finally lifted off
the shoulders of tens of thousands of dedicated American service
members,” Biden said.
“Despite serving with extraordinary
honor and courage throughout our history, more than 100,000 American
service members have been discharged because of their sexual
orientation or gender identity – including some 14,000 under Don’t
Ask, Don’t Tell.”
“Many of these veterans received what
are known as 'other than honorable' discharges, excluding them and
their families from the vitally important services and benefits they
had sacrificed so much to earn.”
“As a U.S. Senator, I supported
allowing service members to serve openly, and as Vice President, I
was proud to champion the repeal of this policy and to stand beside
President Obama as he signed the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell Repeal Act
Biden added that he “proudly”
reversed the military's ban on transgender service members.
“On this day and every day, I am
thankful for all of the LGBTQ+ service members and veterans who
strengthen our military and our nation. We must honor their sacrifice
by continuing the fight for full equality for LGBTQ+ people,
including by finally passing the Equality Act and living up to our
highest values of justice and equality for all,” he said.