Tucson Mayor, Council Call for End to Gay Troop Ban
Tucson, AZ Mayor Bob Walkup, together with the City Council of Tucson, have passed a resolution calling on Congress to repeal the military ban on gay servicemembers.
The resolution, which was forwarded to President Bush and that state delegation from Arizona, reads in part, "Military readiness is enhanced when every qualified, capable American, regardless of sexual orientation, is welcomed into our Armed Forces and has his or her talents utilized in the best interest of our national security."
The Tucson resolution follows similar measures from Atlanta, Chicago, New York City, San Francisco, and St. Louis.
Said Steve Ralls, Director of Communications for Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (SLDN), "Communities from coast to coast realize they are less safe when qualified men and women are turned away from our fighting forces simply because they are lesbian or gay."
Continued Ralls, "More than 22,500 lesbian and gay veterans call Arizona home. The Tucson resolution pays tribute to their service and the ongoing service of more than 65,000 lesbian and gay troops on duty in our armed forces today. Congress should follow the lead of Tucson and demand an end to ’Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ once and for all."
The Military Readiness Enhancement Act, a bill sponsored by Rep. Ellen Tauscher, Democrat of California, is currently before the House of Representatives. The bill, if it were signed into law, would end the military’s ban on service by openly gay troops.
The bill has 131 co-sponsors from both parties, including Congressmen Ed Pastor, Democrat of California, and Raul Grijalva, Democrat of Arizona.
Arizona Senator John McCain, a hopeful to the Republican nod in the 2008 Presidential election, spoke in support of the ban on gay and lesbian military personnel earlier this week in New Hampshire.
Said Pamela Liberty, co-chair of the City of Tucson GLBT Commission, "This policy represents the only example in the United States of legislation that requires discrimination."
Continued Liberty, "On average, two service members each day are discharged solely on the basis of sexual orientation."
Added Liberty, "We are proud of our Mayor and Council Members for adding their voices to the growing demand to end this discriminatory policy."
SLDN is a support organization for GLBT military personnel.