Former Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean is calling on President Obama to take “immediate” action to end “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” as part of major defense budget legislation currently before Congress.
In an open letter dated May 8, Dean asks Obama to include a repeal of the ban preventing openly gay people from serving in the U.S. military as part of the upcoming defense authorization bill.
“The time to end “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” is now,” Dean says. “I urge you to take immediate action to insure that Congress includes the repeal of [‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’] — with an implementation timeline — in the Defense Authorization bill currently under consideration.”
Dean notes Obama said during his State of the Union address in January he would work this year with Congress and the U.S. military to end “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” Dean asks the president to follow through on this commitment by pushing for delayed implementation legislation.
“While I understand the need to research how repealing [‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’] will affect members of the military, the law can still be repealed with an implementation timeline this year,” Dean says.
Dean writes that he’s representing Democracy for Action, the grassroots organization he started after his presidential in bid in 2004, and the Courage Campaign, a grassroots LGBT organization based in California.
The publication of the letter comes on the heels of a surprise appearance Dean made at “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” protest last week before the White House urging the president to take greater action on the issue.