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JIC Post:From 365Gay.com(Sacramento, California) California on Wednesday became the first state in the nation to ask the U.S. Congress and President Bush to repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” the policy that bars gays from serving openly in the military. The resolution, calls for passage of the Military Readiness Enhancement Act, authored by Representative Marty Meehan (D- Massachusetts). The bill is currently waiting a hearing in Congress. It currently has 90 bi-partisan supporters and was endorsed by eight retired military officers. The California resolution, authored by Senator Christine Kehoe (D-San Diego), passed the Assembly on a 44-30 vote. It has already passed the Senate and does not need the governor's signature.“Today, we sent a message to the President and Congress: the people of California want every man and woman, regardless of whom they love, to be able to serve their country openly and proudly,” said Kehoe. “The security of all Americans will be strengthened by allowing these well-trained and dedicated servicemembers to serve in our armed forces.”With 26 bases statewide, California is home to approximately 137,000 gay and lesbian veterans currently living in California — the most of any other state. "Don’t, Ask, Don’t Tell’ is out of step with the majority of Americans who want to see equal and just treatment for all military personnel,” said Executive Director Geoffrey Kors of Equality California - the state's largest LGBT civil rights organization. “If the largest state in the nation can take a stand against discrimination in our military, then others will soon follow. Let us not disgrace America’s gay and lesbian servicemembers by denying them the honor of serving proudly and openly in our armed forces.”Earlier on Wednesday a new poll was released showing a majority of Americans favor abolishing the gay ban. A report released in July showed that if 'don't ask, don't tell' were abolished the armed forces could alleviate a critical troop shortage. The report, prepared by the Williams Project at the UCLA School of Law, showed that without the ban, the military could expect to see 41,000 new recruits. Its release came as the Pentagon admitted that it would not meet its recruiting goal this year for the first time since 1999.The Government Accountability Office, earlier this year, issued a report showing that 'don't ask, don't tell' has cost taxpayers more than $200 million since its inception in 1993.More than 10,000 service members have been discharged over the last 10 years under the policy according to statistics from the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network.
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