U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., has called on the Senate to repeal the Don’t Ask Don’t Tell policy as part of the annual Defense Authorization bill making its way to the Senate floor after Thanksgiving.
Wyden, who voted against the law 17 years ago as a member of the House of Representatives and has worked for its repeal in the Senate ever since, calling the ban on openly gay military a “toxic combination” that is harmful to national security and detrimental to individual freedoms.
Wyden has sent a letter to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid asking that the National Defense Authorization Act come to the floor with the Don’t Ask Don’t Tell repeal amendment intact.
“This harmful law forces service members to choose between the military and the person they love,” Wyden said in the letter to Reid. “Not one more servicemember should be forced to make that painful choice. This law has resulted in a waste of military talent and resources. It is time for the Senate to repeal it.”
According to the Williams Institute at the University of California at Los Angeles, the gay ban has cost the military $555 million to recruit and train new service members to replace those discharged. The policy has also cost the military thousands of qualified service members including hundreds of experts in critical languages such as Arabic, Farsi and Chinese.