Pelavin: “We must no longer allow prejudice to deprive our nation of the skills and commitment of talented men and women.”
WASHINGTON, D.C., May 28, 2010 — In response to both the U.S. House House of Representatives’ vote and the Senate Armed Services Committee’s decision to move forward with repeal of the military’s “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” policy, Mark Pelavin, Associate Director of the Religious Action Center, issued the following statement:
We welcome last night’s long-overdue votes in both the Senate Armed Services committee and the House of Representatives to overturn “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell,” following a Pentagon review of the policy. Yesterday’s action, undertaken with the support of the White House and the Pentagon, reflects the urgency and seriousness of the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy and the detrimental impact it has on our soldiers and our nation’s security. The 16-year-old policy, which was originally presented as a “compromise” that would respect servicemembers’ privacy and meet our military’s needs, has instead forced gay and lesbian servicemembers to live their lives in secret, always at risk of losing their ability to serve our country.
As Jews, we are guided by the very basic belief that all human beings are created b’tselem Elohim, in the Divine image. Regardless of context, discrimination against any person is inconsistent with this fundamental belief, for the stamp of the Divine is present in each and every one of us. The Reform Movement has long been outspokenly supportive of efforts to end discrimination against gays in the military; for several years, the RAC housed the Campaign for Military Service, a major organization dedicated to these efforts.
Regardless of sexual orientation, those Americans who risk their lives to serve our country and defend America’s freedom deserve our utmost gratitude and respect. Yesterday’s House action is a step toward creating a more just and compassionate military; we must no longer allow prejudice to deprive our nation of the skills and commitment of talented men and women.