Pennsylvania Congressman: Congress should repeal "Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell"

by Michael K. Lavers

National News Editor

Thursday October 21, 2010

Pennsylvania Congressman Patrick Murphy reiterated his support for the repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" in a live chat with LGBT bloggers on Thursday, Oct. 21.

Murphy, an Iraq war veteran who was a captain in the Army's 82nd Airborne Division, cited Admiral Mike Mullen, chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, as he stressed the need to repeal DADT. "Kicking out servicemembers willing to put their lives on the line for their country is wrong and it hurts our national security," he wrote. "When I served in Iraq, my fellow paratroopers didn't care if someone was gay or straight. They cared that everyone could do their jobs so we could all come home alive."

The live chat took place less than 24 hours after a federal appeals court temporarily granted the federal government's request to stay U.S. District Judge Virginia Phillips' order that ordered the military not to enforce DADT. Senior White House advisor Valerie Jarrett and Ted Olson, the former solicitor general under President George W. Bush, are among those who differ in whether the Department of Justice should defend DADT in court, but Murphy stressed the decision should ultimately rest with lawmakers.

"I've been following the debate between legal scholars in between stops at local diners and train stations and I know some of the best legal minds disagree on what course the administration needs to take," wrote Murphy. "But seeing the ping-pong in the courts just reiterates what I've been saying all along: an act of Congress put this misguided policy into law and it will take an act of Congress to repeal it."

Murphy described the Republican filibuster in the U.S. Senate that blocked debate on DADT's repeal as "a disgrace," but he applauded Lt. Dan Choi and others who decided to reinlist earlier this week after the Pentagon announced it would start accepting gay recruits. "I'm proud of Dan and the others who are reinlisting," wrote Murphy, saying he had just met a gay man who had just reinlisted in the Navy.

A recent Monmouth University poll shows Murphy, who represents suburban Bucks County, has a three-point advantage over former Republican Congressman Mike Fitzpatrick in Pennsylvania's Eighth Congressional District. Others had shown the incumbent trailing his GOP challenger.

Joe Solmonese, president of the Human Rights Campaign; Robin McGehee, co-founder of GetEqual; blogger Pam Spaulding and Rick Jacobs of the Courage Campaign are among those who have endorsed Murphy because of his DADT stance.

Murphy remains adamant, however, the Senate will vote to repeal DADT after the election.

"We're not taking our foot off the gas, and I'm optimistic we will get this done," he said.

Click here for a full transcript of Murphy's comments.

Based in Washington, D.C., Michael K. Lavers has appeared in the New York Times, BBC, WNYC, Huffington Post, Village Voice, Advocate and other mainstream and LGBT media outlets. He is an unapologetic political junkie who thoroughly enjoys living inside the Beltway.

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