Sponsored by: Frank Dixon Approved: 02/26/2006
A RESOLUTION OF THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY OF OREGON
A RESOLUTION OF THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY OF OREGON urging Congress to pass and the President to sign the Military Readiness Enhancement Act of 2005 (H.R. 1059), which eliminates the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy and adopts a policy of nondiscrimination on the basis of sexual orientation with the United States Armed Forces.
WHEREAS, Lesbian, gay, and bisexual Americans have served honorably in the Armed Forces throughout United States history and continue to serve with distinction on active duty, including in Iraq and Afghanistan; and
WHEREAS, The Armed Forces are weakened when competent and qualified individuals are involuntarily discharged solely by reason of their sexual orientation; and
WHEREAS, In 1993, Congress passed and the President signed legislation the National Defense Authorization Act of 1994 (Public Law 103-160), that created the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy; and
WHEREAS, The Servicemembers Legal Defense Network has found that the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy led to the discharge of nearly 10,000 service members in its first ten years, including nearly 800 with “critical skills,” of which 322 were linguists, in particular 54 Arabic and 9 Farsi translators, vitally important positions to intelligence gathering and in critical shortage, at a cost to taxpayers of estimated at $363.8 million; and
WHEREAS, The Armed Forces are often unable to meet their own recruiting goals, while at the same time they are preventing highly qualified and patriotic gay, lesbian, and bisexual Americans from serving solely because of their sexual orientation; and
WHEREAS, America’s closest allies, including the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, and Israel, allow lesbian, gay, and bisexual service members to serve openly in their militaries, and the United Kingdom now actively recruits these service members, and
WHEREAS, The Department of Homeland Security, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Defense Intelligence Agency, the National Security Agency, the Central Intelligence Agency, and other federal departments handling national security allow their lesbian, gay and bisexual personnel to serve openly; and
WHEREAS, Discharges under “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” are historically fewer when troop strength is low, as in times of war, which denotes the tacit recognition by the military that lesbian, gay and bisexual service members are fit and capable of military service, thereby further illustrating the arbitrary enforcement of this policy; and
WHEREAS, The majority of American citizens support keeping trained and skilled openly gay, lesbian, and bisexual service members in the military; and
NOW, THEREFORE, THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY OF OREGON RESOLVES AS FOLLOWS:
Section 1. The Democratic Party of Oregon supports H.R. 1059, the Military Readiness Act of 2005, that will replace the current “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy with a policy of nondiscrimination based on sexual orientation, and respectfully urges the Congress to pass and the President to sign H.R. 1059, thereby ending the discriminatory federal policy of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell;” and
Section 2. The Democratic Party of Oregon respectfully urges local governing bodies in Oregon and the Oregon Legislature to adopt similar resolutions in support of H.R. 1059; and
Section 3. The Democratic Party of Oregon will transmit copies of this resolution to the President of the United States, to the Governor and to each Oregon Senator and Representative in the Congress of the United States.
ADOPTED by the Democratic Party of Oregon on 26th day of February 2006.
Resolution submitted by Frank Dixon, Multnomah County
Platform and Resolutions Committee recommends adoption.