Last month a federal court judge ruled that "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" (DADT) is unconstitutional. It was a huge step forward. But now the Department of Justice (DOJ) has the option to appeal this ruling and turn back the progress we have made.
Senator Kirsten Gillibrand of New York and I are leading a push to urge the Department of Justice to let the ruling stand. We've written a letter to the DOJ, and we are asking our fellow Senators to co-sign.
"Don't Ask, Don't Tell" is an outmoded law that hurts our military readiness and is inconsistent with our values as Americans.
Yet a couple of weeks ago, the Senate Republicans filibustered the 2011 Defense Authorization Act — the bill which provides our fighting men and women with the resources to stay safe while fighting overseas — because they oppose repealing "Don't Ask, Don't Tell."
Senator Gillibrand and I understand that only action by Congress can bring real finality to this issue. However, we believe an appeal of the recent federal court decision could set back efforts in the Senate to repeal DADT.
We believe the most important factor the DOJ must weigh in deciding whether to appeal the judge's ruling is whether or not an appeal furthers a legitimate governmental interest.
Senator Gillibrand and I believe an appeal in this case does not.
Too many brave men and women have been hurt by "Don't Ask, Don't Tell." We must not lose one more service member because of this nonsensical law. As the judge ruled, DADT actually hurts our national security — and that is unacceptable at a time of two wars.