Rep. Murphy on the DADT Deal

BY Kerry Eleveld

May 26 2010 3:45 PM ET

A number of LGBT people are concerned that there’s no
nondiscrimination mandate. Do you share that concern?

Well, I
think this is a smart agreement that dismantles “don’t ask, don’t tell,”
and we need to act now and with a sense of urgency. And I think this
vehicle helps us get the votes we need to achieve that goal in the
Senate and the House.

I don’t think the [Defense secretary] and
Admiral Mullen could be more clear. Admiral Mullen, in his testimony, he
said, “It comes down to integrity. Theirs as individuals and ours as an
institution.”

If this passes, a great deal of authority will
go over to the Department of Defense in terms of final repeal and
implementation — is there any way for Congress to exert some influence
over that process and how long it takes?

I think, first, the
Pentagon has said publicly and privately that they will have that study
group done by December first of this year. And secondly, that they are
of the belief that “don’t ask, don’t tell” has hurt national security
and the American taxpayer. They agree that we should not be telling
infantry officers or fighter pilots or Arabic linguists that their
services are not needed.

Have you gotten any private
assurances that they will proceed with urgency once the December study
group comes out?

Yes.

From high-level folks at DOD?
Yes.











Have you
had any discussions with the White House regarding timing?

We’ve
been very clear on the need to get this done. But I think the Department
of Defense has been clear that they think the policy is hurting
military readiness, which is why they came out against “don’t ask, don’t
tell” and for repeal. 

Is there any talk of a possible stop-loss order that would freeze discharges or an executive order
from the President mandating nondiscrimination?

First things first. This is a major
hurdle — this would be a major event if we could finally repeal “don’t
ask, don’t tell” after 17 years. So this has been our focus and our
push.

Would you be supportive of the president taking such action
as issuing an executive order prohibiting discrimination against gays and lesbians in the
military?

Yes.

Would you support a stop-loss order?
Yes.

Is
there anything you would like to add, congressman?

I think we’re
on the right side of history here, and I’ve been fighting for folks
like Sgt. Lacye Presley from Florida. Here is an Army medic in Iraq who
won the Bronze Star for literally saving the lives of her fellow soldiers.
And because she saw her commander basically take drugs and sell them,
she reported him, she did the right thing. And yet someone else outed
her because she’s a lesbian. Now, Sgt. Presley is an American hero in my
book, and she shouldn’t have been hauled into her 1st Sergeant’s office
and discharged from our Army. And that’s the type of change we’re going
to bring about by repealing “don’t ask, don’t tell.”









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