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Pentagon: Investigations and Discharges Under “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” Will Continue

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LDN issued warnings to service members before and after the recent House floor and Senate committee votes on repeal amendment

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (SLDN), a national, legal services and policy organization dedicated to ending “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” (DADT), responded today after a Pentagon spokesperson confirmed to the Denver Post that investigations and discharges of gay and lesbian service members will continue.  Cynthia Smith, a Pentagon spokesperson, said: “The law is still in effect, and if someone were to out themselves, we would have to begin the discharge process.”  SLDN issued warnings to gay and lesbian service members before and after the recent House floor and Senate committee votes on an amendment that would allow for the repeal of the law.  Gay and lesbian service members with questions are urged to contact the SLDN hotline:202-328-3244 x100 or email [email protected] Any service member with questions about DADT can schedule an appointment for free, confidential legal advice with an SLDN attorney.

“The Pentagon is being very clear that they will continue the discharges and gay and lesbian active-duty service members, including those in the reserves and the national guard, remain at risk,” said Aubrey Sarvis, executive director for Servicemembers Legal Defense Network.  “Even with the recent votes in the U.S. House of Representatives and the Senate Armed Services Committee, the discharges are continuing. Qualified men and women of our armed forces will continue to be fired from their jobs and it is putting our national security at risk.  And even despite the new ‘more humane’ Pentagon Instructions, we are aware of an ‘0-7’ – a one-star general – signing off on a discharge very recently.  Congress and the Pentagon need to stay on track to get repeal finalized, hopefully no later than first quarter 2011.”

“’Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ continues to be the law, and lesbian, gay, and bisexual service members remain vulnerable to being discharged on the basis of their sexual orientation,” said Aaron Tax, legal director for Servicemembers Legal Defense Network.  “It is not safe to come out or serve openly until the process of repeal is complete.  During this time, continue to check with SLDN regarding changes in the law, changes to the regulations, and what impact, if any, these developments mean for your ability to serve openly.”

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