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Public Statements

Providing for Consideration of H.R. 5136, National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2011

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Mr. FRANK of Massachusetts. Mr. Speaker, I congratulate Speaker Pelosi and others in the leadership for successfully insisting that this House get a chance to vote on repealing the rule that says that patriotic, able-bodied gay and lesbian Americans cannot serve their country.

Mr. Speaker, it strikes me as odd. If there was a situation in which we were at war, as we are now sadly in two situations--sadly because no one likes war--if I had proposed that gay and lesbian Americans be exempted from any drafts and from any requirement to serve and put their lives in danger, I would have been accused of a ``special rights,'' and it would have been a correct accusation. Instead, gay and lesbian people are asking for the right to serve, and we're told that will undo military cohesion.

Mr. Speaker, the Israeli Defense Forces have understandably, given the history of the Jewish people and our aversion to bigotry, because we know what it does to us, they have been free of any such prejudice. Gay and lesbian Israelis have not just the right but the obligation to serve their country. And those who tell me that the presence of gay and lesbian members of the military undermine the effectiveness of a fighting force and undermine unit cohesion must have never heard of Israel. They must have never heard of as effective a fighting force as has existed in modern times.

So the notion that you must deny American gay and lesbian citizens their rights has no basis in reality.

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