'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' Proponents Looking for Votes

Proponents of repealing the military's controversial "don't ask, don't tell" policy are now working to seal the necessary votes to pass Monday's compromise deal through Congress.

Both the House and Senate are looking to vote on the measure this week in a bid to end the 17-year-old policy that bars homosexuals from serving openly in the military.

But even if the measure passes this week, the policy will not be changed until December when the military finishes a review of the effects of the repeal.

Some gay rights advocates have complained about the slowness of the repeal process, but president of the Human Rights Campaign, Joe Solmonese, said the deal "puts us one step closer to removing this stain from the laws of our nation," according to the New York Times.

Meanwhile, members of the religious community have voiced their support for ending the DADT policy.

In April, a group of religious leaders wrote an open letter to Congress in support of repealing DADT saying that they "strongly believe this policy of government-sanctioned discrimination is morally
wrong and entirely contrary to the teachings and values of our faith communities."

According to the group, some 13,500 service members have been discharged based on their sexual orientation since DADT was instituted, and over 66,000 homosexuals are currently serving in the military under compulsion to "live dishonestly and in fear of termination for reasons unrelated to
their performance."

"As faith leaders, we deal routinely with the damage such discrimination and fear imposes on our lesbian and gay sisters and brothers and their families," the group said. "We believe the laws of our country should reflect the highest regard for integrity and care for our neighbors as we care for ourselves.

"Repeal of DADT will finally allow all service members to contribute their talents and skills to our country openly and honestly."

Signers on the letter included The Episcopal Church, the Interfaith Alliance, the Rabbinical Assembly, the Sikh Coalition, among others.

Meanwhile, Gallup Poll results released on Monday revealed that an overwhelming majority of Americans see homosexuality as "morally acceptable."

The poll revealed a gradual increase in acceptability among Protestants (42 percent), Catholics (62 percent), and non-Christians (84-85 percent) over the past four years.

"As you can see, the stereotype that people of faith are opponents of gay rights doesn't hold up," coalition group Faith in Public Life said.

"These numbers reinforce what we've been saying for awhile now--people of faith support overturning a policy that doesn't serve our nation's best interests or its values, and religious leaders who use DADT to unfairly malign our troops and LGBT Americans are becoming further and further out of touch."

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