March 18, 2011 | by Chris Johnson
Hoyer: Monitor ‘Don’t Ask’ repeal ‘diligently’ for quick implementation

House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (Blade photo by Michael Key)

House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) intends on Saturday to call on supporters of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” repeal to monitor the transition to end the gay ban “diligently” to ensure quick and fair implementation of open service.

The Washington Blade obtained excerpts of the remarks that Hoyer plans to give at the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network’s 19th annual dinner, which is set to take place Saturday at the National Building Museum.

“But tonight, I’m here to urge you: keep working,” Hoyer is slated to say. “Let’s monitor the transition to open service diligently; let’s ensure that it’s implemented quickly, fairly, and professionally. Let’s partner with our military leaders, who are doing an outstanding job in educating our troops about repeal and what it means. Let’s keep an eye on the process until it’s done.”

According to the excerpts obtained by the Blade, Hoyer also plans to say he was proud to work with former Rep. Patrick Murphy to end “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”

Murphy, an Iraq war veteran, was the sponsor of the standalone legislation that repealed the anti-gay law. Murphy lost re-election last year to Rep. Mike Fitzpatrick (R-Pa.).

“I was proud to fight for repeal, to ensure that it had the votes to pass and become law,” Hoyer is set to say. “I was proud to make the case for the patriotism, the dedication, and the courage of gay men and women in uniform.”

Hoyer and Murphy are credited with leading the effort to pass standalone legislation allowing for repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” after major defense budget legislation containing repeal language repeatedly failed in the Senate. At the dinner, Hoyer is set to receive the Anna M. Curren Service Award in recognition of this achievement.

The excerpts obtained by the Blade follow:

“I was proud to co-sponsor the repeal of DADT and ensuring that it got a vote on the House floor. I was proud to stand beside Patrick Murphy, an Iraq War veteran who understands that it is wasteful and wrong to say no to the service of men and women who would take a bullet for our country, simply because of their sexual orientation. I was proud to fight for repeal, to ensure that it had the votes to pass and become law. I was proud to make the case for the patriotism, the dedication, and the courage of gay men and women in uniform.”

“Now, repeal is law. And that is a civil rights triumph—for every single American. I want every one of us to be proud about what we did to make this a safer and more just country.”

“But tonight, I’m here to urge you: keep working. Let’s monitor the transition to open service diligently; let’s ensure that it’s implemented quickly, fairly, and professionally. Let’s partner with our military leaders, who are doing an outstanding job in educating our troops about repeal and what it means. Let’s keep an eye on the process until it’s done.”

Chris Johnson is Chief Political & White House Reporter for the Washington Blade. Johnson attends the daily White House press briefings and is a member of the White House Correspondents' Association. Follow Chris

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