Today, Congressman Patrick Murphy (D-PA, 8th District) and Congressman Tim Walz (D-MN, 1st District) announced the 180th cosponsorship of H.R. 1283, the Military Readiness Enhancement Act. The legislation would replace the damaging policy known as "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" with a policy of nondiscrimination, allowing Americans to serve their country openly, regardless of sexual orientation. Rep. Murphy is the first Iraq war veteran elected to Congress, and Rep. Walz is the highest ranking enlisted man ever to serve in the House of Representatives. Previously, the highest number of cosponsors on the Military Readiness Enhancement Act was 149. Since taking over sponsorship of the legislation four months ago, Congressman Murphy has secured nearly 40 cosponsors.
Passed by Congress in 1993, "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" prohibits gay, lesbian, and bisexual individuals from serving openly in the U.S. Armed Forces. The MREA would repeal this discriminatory law, which compromises national security and military readiness at a time when the U.S. is engaged in two wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Over 13,000 men and women in uniform have been discharged from the military under DADT, including 800 mission critical servicemembers such as medics, fighter pilots, and nearly 60 Arabic linguists.
"I'm honored to fight side-by-side with Congressman Walz as we continue working to repeal this wrongful policy and enhance our military readiness," said Rep. Murphy. "Momentum keeps building, and we know it is only a matter of time before brave, talented men and women can serve our country openly, regardless of their orientation."
"The current policy of Don't Ask, Don't Tell is grossly outdated. It hinders morale, degrades the readiness of our military, and unfairly discriminates against those wanting to serve selflessly in an honorable profession," said Rep. Walz. "We've lost hundreds of highly skilled service members to this policy and I will stand with Rep. Murphy for as long as it takes to honor these professionals by allowing them to serve their country free from compliance with a law that requires them to be dishonest about who they are."