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ADL Hails Historic Repeal of 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell'

New York, NY, December 20, 2010 … The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today hailed the repeal of the discriminatory "Don't Ask Don't Tell" policy that had prevented gay and lesbian Americans from serving openly in the armed forces solely on the basis of their sexual orientation.  The U.S. Senate voted 65-31 on December 18 to end the policy.

The House of Representatives had approved separate-standing repeal legislation by a vote of 250-175 on December 15.

Robert G. Sugarman, ADL National Chair, and Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director, issued the following statement:

We welcome the repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell – an unjust, ineffective, and discriminatory policy that prevented talented Americans from serving in our armed forces solely on the basis of their sexual orientation.  ADL firmly believes that hiring and firing decisions should be based on merit and performance -- not on personal characteristics, such as sexual orientation.

This action by Congress is the next important step towards full equality for gay men and lesbians.  The League stands ready to use its anti-bias training expertise to help the service branches implement this new policy, permitting the full integration of gays and lesbians into the armed forces.  We will continue to take a lead role in promoting equality for all Americans.

We applaud the leadership of President Barack Obama and we especially thank Sens. Joe Lieberman (I-CT), Susan Collins (R-ME), Harry Reid (D-NV), and Carl Levin (D-MI) and Reps. Steny Hoyer (D-MD) and Patrick Murphy (D-PA) for their persistence and leadership in finally bringing this unjust policy to an end.

Since the implementation of the DADT policy in 1993, more than 14,000 highly-qualified gays and lesbians have been discharged from the armed forces, including many with the high-level skills necessary to help in the fight against terror.

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The Anti-Defamation League, founded in 1913, is the world's leading organization fighting anti-Semitism through programs and services that counteract hatred, prejudice and bigotry.

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