WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Rep. Charlie Dent (PA-15) issued the following statement after voting for legislation, H.R. 2965, that would repeal the military’s ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ policy:
“In May 2010, I voted against an amendment to the FY2011 National Defense Authorization Act, H.R. 5136, that would have repealed ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ (DADT). Before legislating a personnel change of this magnitude, I felt Congress must provide the Department of Defense (DOD) ample time to conduct a thorough review of the policy and issue a report outlining its recommendations.
“On November 30, 2010, DOD issued its findings and recommendations following a nine-month study on the potential impacts of repealing the law. While this report includes some issues that will need to be addressed, I believe it provides clear guidance that long-term unit cohesion and retention will not be jeopardized by allowing gays and lesbians to serve openly in our Armed Forces.
“Perhaps most influential in my decision to support this bill were the serious concerns Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates recently expressed involving the potential risks associated with a court-ordered repeal. Secretary Gates explained, ‘…there is the very real possibility that this change would be imposed by judicial fiat – by far the most disruptive and damaging scenario I can imagine, and the most hazardous to military morale, readiness and battlefield performance.’
“I share Secretary Gates’ assessment that an immediate repeal ordered by the courts would compromise the military’s ability to implement the new policy in a controlled and effective manner.
“I believe the defining characteristic of a young man or woman who volunteers to join the military is his or her dedication to defending the United States of America. I have confidence that regardless of sexual preference, service members will continue to develop unsurpassed camaraderie with those who share their commitment to protecting the nation.”