Murphy Moves on "Don't Ask, Don't Tell"
BY Kerry Eleveld
July 08 2009 12:00 AM ET
Rep. Patrick Murphy of Pennsylvania officially became the lead sponsor on the "don't ask, don't tell" repeal bill, the Military Readiness Enhancement Act, on Tuesday night, but he's been stepping up efforts to get the bill moving for months.
Murphy has launched a new website, LetThemServe.com , where citizens and soldiers can weigh in on the policy and get updates on the bill. He is also joining forces with the Human Rights Campaign and Servicemembers United on a national tour to discuss the negative effects of the policy with average citizens across the country.
He took time out Tuesday to speak with The Advocate about the road to repeal.
Advocate.com:I know there was some competition for this bill from other members like Susan Davis and Joe Sestak. How did you get the bill? Rep. Patrick Murphy: I was the first Iraq war veteran elected to Congress and I saw firsthand how this policy has hurt our military and has hurt our national security and I have the honor of serving on not just the Armed Services Committee but also the [Military] Personnel Subcommittee, which is where, for the first time in 15 years, we held a hearing on the policy last year. I was honored that I'll be able to quarterback this bill and I'm going to see that we get it done and put a bill on the president's desk to repeal it.
But in terms of securing the bill, did you have conversations with former representative Ellen Tauscher [the previous lead sponsor, who vacated her seat to accept a position in the State Department] early on and indicate that you would be interested? I did, and I had a great working relationship with Secretary Tauscher. We worked at that hearing last year and it's something she saw that I care deeply about, and that's when the cameras were on. But behind the scenes, talking to my colleagues in the Congress, on both sides of the aisle as well. And so I think I earned her support and I'm proud to take the lead on this.
What's the next step, the first thing you'll do to get this thing moving?I've been going member to member, especially since I've taken the lead -- we've gotten six new cosponsors on board, two members of leadership last week [representatives John Larson and Xavier Becerra], and we're doing the national kickoff at the National Press Club Tuesday. But I'm also doing a website petition to petition my fellow members of Congress, and we're going to be doing smaller press conferences in congressional districts to let people know why it's important now to change it.
The fact that we've let go over 13,000 troops since it's been implemented and over 65 Arabic translators -- that's over three combat brigades that we've let go. When we're fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan, we need every qualified, able-bodied individual to serve.
- Multiple Attacks on Gay Men in NYC, Hours After Rally
- French Marriage Equality Opponent Commits Suicide at Notre Dame
- WATCH: President Obama Tells Morehouse Grads 'Be the Best Husband to Your Boyfriend'
- Op-ed: Religion Shouldn't Be an Excuse for Discrimination
- LGBT-Inclusive Immigration Reform Good As Dead, Say Advocates
- Florida Teen Facing Sex Offender Charge For Consensual Same-Sex Relationship
Sign Up For Email Updates
- Women Op-Ed: Case of Lesbian Teen Kaitlyn Hunt Raises Questions About Sexual Double Standard 6 min 7 sec ago
- Music WATCH: Is This the Worst Music Video Ever? 19 min 45 sec ago
- Marriage Equality French Marriage Equality Opponent Commits Suicide at Notre Dame 21 min 16 sec ago
- Politics Democratic 'Betrayal' Leaves Binational LGBT Families Stranded 32 min 38 sec ago
- Travel Peace Corps Opens to Same-Sex Couples 47 min 51 sec ago
- Commentary Why it's Time to Stop Stigmatizing Haitians 1 hour 1 min ago
- Health and Treatments Is There Such a Thing as HIV-Negative AIDS? 1 hour 4 min ago