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Don't Ask, Don't Tell

Yesterday was the 8th anniversary of when we finally repealed Don't Ask, Don't Tell.

Don't Ask, Don't Tell was a shameful and disastrous policy that made discrimination the official policy of the military. It forced members of the military to lie every day to their friends and colleagues – people they needed to trust with their life. It drove hundreds of qualified service members out of the armed forces every year, ending their careers there and depriving the military of their talent. And it said to the entire world that discrimination is an American value.

I'm proud to have helped lead the fight against Don't Ask, Don't Tell – and I'm proud to have fought for LGBTQ+ equality since long before it was politically convenient. I know from experience that progress depends on the courage of people who are willing to stand up and fight for what's right, even when it's risky or unpopular.

Our victory on Don't Ask, Don't Tell was about more than just that one policy. It was a critical moment in the broader fight for LGBTQ+ equality that set the stage for future victories. It showed all of America that it was possible to stand up for LGBTQ+ rights and win.

There are so many important fights remaining. There's been a backlash against growing rights and equality for LGBTQ+ people, driven by politicians who see a political advantage in stoking hate and dividing people. And as Trump and the GOP attack LGBTQ+ people, it's given bigots across the country permission to do the same.

But it's important to remember that over the long run, we are winning – and no matter how loud it might get, hate will not define what America stands for. There was a time when it seemed impossible to win a fight for LGBTQ+ equality on the national level. If we keep working together, we can transform more changes from "impossible," to "inevitable."


Posted on September 21, 2018.

As Independent as Oregon.

Peter DeFazio's common-sense proposals aim to create good-paying jobs, expand access to affordable health care and develop options outside of the for-profit marketplace, restore economic and educational opportunities, hold government accountable and tip the scales of inequality back in favor of hard-working Oregonians.

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