At DADT hearing, Senate heard from ‘active duty troops who are serving under the burden of this law as we speak’

As noted below, the Senate Armed Services Committee held a hearing on DADT repeal today. The panel heard from two witnesses who were discharged under the discriminatory policy. Servicemembers United also provided testimony from people serving now according to the group’s press release:

“Today’s hearing is yet another historic step forward on the path to repealing the ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ law, and Servicemembers United is proud to add the voices of a diverse group of anonymous active duty troops who are serving under the burden of this law as we speak, including in Iraq and Afghanistan,” said Alexander Nicholson, Executive Director of Servicemembers United. “These testimonials are intensely moving, and they illuminate why this law can and should be repealed immediately.”

The pdf of the testimony is here. It’s powerful:

The members of the Committee have now had a chance to hear from a variety of senior military and civilian leaders from the Department of Defense, and today it will hear from a panel of distinguished veterans about this issue. The one element that remains missing from this debate, however, is the voice of those men and women who are currently serving on active duty under the cloud of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” These servicemembers are the ones who stand to be impacted most by a decision on the fate of this policy, yet their voices are effectively muted by the strictures of the very law that is up for debate.

In lieu of further testimony conveying facts and statistics about the record and impact of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” we offer to you instead a collection of personal testimonials from a diverse range of gay and lesbian troops who are currently serving on active duty, some of which are even fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan right now. We implore each member of the Committee to read through at least a few of these testimonials, as these are the men and women whose lives and livelihoods are at the heart of this debate.

At the White House and on Capitol Hill, this issue is viewed through a political prism. The President needs to keep his promise to repeal DADT. By now, repealing DADT should be beyond politics. It’s about people who want to serve their country. And, as we see from this testimony, it’s about people who are serving their country in those two wars right now.

More than twenty servicemembers contributed testimony.

On October 27, 2010, Joe was one of five bloggers who interviewed President Obama. Joe is a DC-based political consultant with over twenty-five years of experience at both the state and federal level. Joe has managed political operations and legislative efforts for both candidates and issues-based organizations. For seven years, he was the Director of State Legislation at Handgun Control, Inc. He served as that organization's first Political Director during the 2000 cycle. Joe is a graduate of the University of Maine School of Law. In addition, he has a Masters in Public Administration from Lehigh University and received his B.A. from the University of New Hampshire. Joe also has a fun dog, Petey, a worthy successor to Boomer, who got Joe through eight years of Bush and Cheney. Joe likes to think he is a world class athlete having finished the 2005 Chicago Marathon in the time of 4:10. He has completed six other marathons as well -- and is still determined to break the four hour mark.

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