In an 11-2 vote, the Atlanta City Council passed a resolution this week calling on Congress to repeal the federal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” ban on lesbian, gay and bisexual service members, making it the first Southern city to join the fight against the controversial policy.

The resolution, which calls for passage of the Military Readiness Enhancement Act, a Congressional bill to repeal the law, was introduced by City Council member Anne Fauver and was supported by both Georgia Equality and the Georgia chapter of American Veterans for Equal Rights.

“Communities across America are demanding that Congress place military readiness ahead of discrimination,” said C Dixon Osburn, executive director of Servicemembers Legal Defence Network.

“Our nation must treat all service members with dignity and respect, but we deny that honour to our lesbian, gay and bisexual personnel by keeping ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ on the books.”

The Atlanta City Council joins city councils in Chicago, New York, San Francisco, West Hollywood, St. Louis and Cathedral City in calling for repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” The California State Legislature also recently approved a resolution calling for an end to the ban.

“Like all Georgians, gays and lesbians have many differing views about the war in Iraq,” said Kathleen Womack, chair of Georgia Equality, “However, we all recognise that our fight for true equality requires an end to discrimination against gays by the federal government.”

“The action of the Atlanta City Council puts Atlanta at the forefront of the national effort to improve our nation’s security by allowing the armed forces to truly recruit from America’s best and brightest, to include those who are gay and lesbian,” Womack added.

The resolution will be sent to Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin for her signature.

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