Thursday, July 09, 2009

It's not 1993 anymore.

In 1948, President Harry Truman signed an executive order ending racial segregation in the armed forces. In the 2008 presidential campaign, candidate Barack Obama promised to end another kind of discrimination in the military: the long-standing ban on gay service members. But nearly six months into his presidency, he has yet to make good on that promise. Congress also has taken no action.

Now the latest push is coming, at least in part, from elsewhere. Former Army linguist Jarrod Chlapowski told reporters in Washington on Wednesday that he and others hope to make a national cause of repealing the "don't ask, don't tell" policy, which prohibits openly gay people from serving in the military. The Clinton-era law has led to the dismissal of more than 13,000 gay service members.[...]

"A lot of people ask me, you know, 'Why is a straight, Irish Catholic former altar boy of the year in 1987 at St. Anthony's fighting for this?' " Murphy said at the launch of the tour. "Cause I took an oath. I took an oath as an officer. I took an oath as a congressman to support that Constitution and what that Constitution stands for — and that's equality." [...]

So far, Murphy has persuaded 151 Democrats and one Republican to co-sponsor his bill.

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