Obama: ‘Don’t Ask’ Report Confirms Nation is Ready for Change

WASHINGTON, Nov. 30, 2010 — In a state­ment issued today, Pres­i­dent Barack Oba­ma urged the Sen­ate to act swift­ly so he can sign the repeal of the so-called “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” into law this year, cit­ing the Defense Department’s report as proof that the nation “can tran­si­tion to a new pol­i­cy in a respon­si­ble man­ner.”

Here is the full text of the president’s state­ment:

As Com­man­der in Chief, I have pledged to repeal the “don’t ask, don’t tell” law because it weak­ens our nation­al secu­ri­ty, dimin­ish­es our mil­i­tary readi­ness, and vio­lates fun­da­men­tal Amer­i­can prin­ci­ples of fair­ness and equal­i­ty by pre­vent­ing patri­ot­ic Amer­i­cans who are gay from serv­ing open­ly in our armed forces. At the same time, as Com­man­der in Chief, I am com­mit­ted to ensur­ing that we under­stand the impli­ca­tions of this tran­si­tion, and main­tain good order and dis­ci­pline with­in our mil­i­tary ranks. That is why I direct­ed the Depart­ment of Defense ear­li­er this year to begin prepar­ing for a tran­si­tion to a new pol­i­cy.

Today’s report con­firms that a strong major­i­ty of our mil­i­tary men and women and their fam­i­lies — more than two thirds — are pre­pared to serve along­side Amer­i­cans who are open­ly gay and les­bian. This report also con­firms that, by every mea­sure — from unit cohe­sion to recruit­ment and reten­tion to fam­i­ly readi­ness — we can tran­si­tion to a new pol­i­cy in a respon­si­ble man­ner that ensures our mil­i­tary strength and nation­al secu­ri­ty. And for the first time since this law was enact­ed 17 years ago today, both the Sec­re­tary of Defense and the Chair­man of the Joint Chiefs of Staff have pub­licly endorsed end­ing this pol­i­cy.

With our nation at war and so many Amer­i­cans serv­ing on the front lines, our troops and their fam­i­lies deserve the cer­tain­ty that can only come when an act of Con­gress ends this dis­crim­i­na­to­ry pol­i­cy once and for all. The House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives has already passed the nec­es­sary leg­is­la­tion. Today I call on the Sen­ate to act as soon as pos­si­ble so I can sign this repeal into law this year and ensure that Amer­i­cans who are will­ing to risk their lives for their coun­try are treat­ed fair­ly and equal­ly. Our troops rep­re­sent the virtues of self­less sac­ri­fice and love of coun­try that have enabled our free­doms. I am absolute­ly con­fi­dent that they will adapt to this change and remain the best led, best trained, best equipped fight­ing force the world has ever known.

U.S. Depart­ment of Defense
Office of the Assis­tant Sec­re­tary of Defense (Pub­lic Affairs)

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