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Meehan to push
for repeal of gay soldier ban

Meehan to push
for repeal of gay soldier ban

Marty_meehan

Democratic congressman Marty Meehan of Massachusetts said on Wednesday that he will reintroduce a bill to repeal the military's ban on openly gay soldiers.

A Democratic congressman from Massachusetts said on Wednesday that he will reintroduce a bill to repeal the military's ban on openly gay soldiers. Rep. Marty Meehan said that 112 members of Congress from both parties have signed on to cosponsor the Military Readiness Enhancement Act, which would end the armed services' "don't ask, don't tell" policy.

"I'll be working tirelessly to bring new members of both parties onboard our campaign to lift the ban," Meehan said in an end-of-the-year letter to constituents released by the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, which advocates for gays in the military. "I will also be asking for the first congressional hearings on gays in the military since 1993. I know that when my colleagues see and understand the evidence against "don't ask, don't tell," they will be motivated to join me in the fight for repeal."

A recent Zogby International poll showed that about three fourths of all members of the military who are serving in Iraq or recently returned home say they don't care if someone in their unit is gay. And if gays were allowed to serve openly, the respondents said, it would have had no effect on their decision to enlist.

Since the ban on gays serving openly was implemented a decade ago, more than 11,000 men and women have been dismissed under "don't ask, don't tell," according to the Government Accountability Office. A study conducted last year for the SLDN showed that the U.S. military could attract as many as 41,000 new recruits if gays and lesbians in the military were able to be open about their sexual orientation.

"We cannot afford to keep losing the talent and contribution of patriotic gay Americans who want to serve," Meehan wrote. "Our military success depends on having the best and brightest Americans in our armed forces. The best and brightest includes lesbian and gay Americans too." (The Advocate)

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