Editors' Note: Today's guest blogger is New Jersey Congressman Rush Holt. You can donate to Rep Holt's campaign for re-election at the National Stonewall Democrats Elect Equality Act Blue page.
Ending all forms of discrimination against LGBT individuals is the next chapter in our struggle for civil rights for all. Regarding my position on these issues, I believe Out In Jersey Magazine said it best when they wrote, "Whenever issues affect the LGBT community in Washington (Rush Holt) has always voted with clear cut and forthright values due to his belief in equality for everyone - with no exceptions - he points out. His voting record is the reason that the National Stonewall Democrats endorsed Holt as one of only 12 candidates nationally for the Elect-Equality support."
I am proud to be a founding member of the Equality Caucus and to have worked with them to do the right thing for LBGT individuals in the United States and around the globe. I am an original co-sponsor of the Respect for Marriage Act, which would repeal the Defense of Marriage Act and ensure respect for State regulation of marriage. Additionally, I am a co-sponsor and strong supporter of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, original co-sponsor of the Student Non-Discrimination Act, and have and will continue to oppose attempts to amend the Constitution to prevent LGBT couples from marrying. One of my proudest moments in Congress was being named a member of Garden State Equality's Equality Hall of Fame.
This election marks a crucial moment in history, particularly for the LGBT community. There are clear choices out there with regard to how we move forward in ending all forms of discrimination. For example, when asked in our first debate if he would repeal "Don't Ask, Don't Tell", my opponent ducked the question, saying it was not of importance to the voters. I beg to differ.
"Don't Ask, Don't Tell" has been a complete failure. While the courts play around with this issue, I have a simple solution that will resolve this mess. Repeal this policy once and for all.
First, this is a matter of simple decency and not treating fellow citizens, especially those who want to serve our country, as second class citizens. Moreover, from a standpoint of national security, there are countless cases of language translators being expelled from the armed services because of their sexuality. Yet, there are hundreds of thousands of seized documents sitting in warehouses needing translation. Further, the policy is completely without logic. Gay men and women have served in the military since the American Revolution. The current argument for maintaining the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy mirrors the arguments that were made 60 years ago for keeping the army racially segregated. They are equally as wrong.
I am an original co-sponsor of legislation that would overturn "Don't Ask, Don't Tell." If the people of New Jersey's 12th congressional district do me the honor of representing them for the next two years, I will work day and night to ensure this foolish policy is put to an end.