U.S. Sen. Roland W. Burris, D-Ill., will help unveil legislation March 3 with four of his Senate colleagues to repeal "Don't Ask, Don't Tell ( DADT ) ," the policy banning gays and lesbians from serving openly in the United States military, according to a press release from his office.
Burris, a member of both the Senate Armed Services Committee and the Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee, will be joined by Sens. Joe Lieberman, I-Conn.; Carl Levin, D-Mich.; Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y.; and Mark Udall-D-Colo., as they introduce the Military Readiness Enhancement Act, a bill which will establish in the Armed Forces a policy of nondiscrimination based on sexual orientation, and will repeal DADT.
DADT was first established under President Bill Clinton in 1993. Since its enactment, nearly 14,000 service members have been discharged under the law and countless others have made the choice not to join the armed services because of the ban.
"For too long, gay and lesbian service members have been forced to conceal their sexual orientation in order to dutifully serve their country. With this bill, we will end this discriminatory policy that grossly undermines the strength of our fighting men and women at home and abroad," Burris said. "This legislation will ensure that all gay and lesbian soldiers, airmen, sailors and Marines can serve their country openly and proudly without the threat of prejudice or discharge."
Burris was a co-sponsor of the Matthew Shepard Local Law Enforcement Act, which was signed into law by President Barack Obama last October. Burris is also a co-sponsor of the Domestic Partnership Benefits and Obligations Act, which was passed last December by the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Government Affairs.