Calling it “a civil rights issue,” Portland Mayor Tom Potter and the Portland City Council have approved a resolution urging Congress to repeal the military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” ban on lesbian, gay and bisexual (LGB) personnel.

The resolution, introduced by Commissioner Sam Adams, says in part that the Council “respectfully urges the Congress to pass and the President to sign the Military Readiness Enhancement Act, thereby ending the discriminatory federal policy of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.'”

Frank Dixon, president of the LGBT Caucus for the Democratic Party of Oregon, along with former Army First Lieutenant Fred Fox and Dr. Mary Ann Humphrey-Keever, author of My Country, My Right to Serve, provided testimony in support of the resolution. The resolution was passed unanimously on June 14. The Military Readiness Enhancement Act, introduced in March 2005 by Marty Meehan (D-MA), would repeal the military’s ban and allow lesbian, gay and bisexual personnel to serve openly. The bill currently has 115 co-sponsors in the House of Representatives, including Oregon Representatives Earl Blumenauer, Peter DeFazio, and David Wu.

“Americans across the country value national security over discrimination,” said C. Dixon Osburn, executive director of Servicemembers Legal Defence Network. “Our national security is best protected when the most talented Americans, regardless of sexual orientation, are allowed to serve. SLDN applauds the work of Commissioner Sam Adams and those who testified for passing the resolution. Congress must follow the lead of their constituents and repeal ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ once and for all.”

Resolutions supporting the Military Readiness Enhancement Act have been approved by city councils in New York, Chicago, St. Louis, West Hollywood, San Francisco and Cathedral City, California.

The California State Assembly also approved a similar resolution in September 2005, making it the first state to officially oppose the military’s ban. A second state resolution is currently pending in the New York State legislature.

“‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ is un-American because it creates a second-class citizenship,” said retired Army Major Dixon, who led the efforts in collaboration with the Military Education Initiative and the National Stonewall Democrats. “This is no way to thank our lesbian, gay and bisexual patriots for their selfless service to our country. As stewards of democracy and freedom, we all have a role to play in ending discrimination against our lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender service members.”

© 2006 Paul E. Pratt; All Rights Reserved.