Gay, Lesbian & Bisexual Veterans of America, Inc.
THE DENVER DECLARATION
April 2nd, 2001
CLOSING SESSION OF THE NATIONAL GAY, LESBIAN & BISEXUAL VETERANS OF AMERICA CONFERENCE, DENVER, COLORADO
CC: Members of Congress
Gay, lesbian and bisexual Americans have served this country since its founding in 1776. General von Steuben, who organized the Continental American Army during the Revolutionary War, was a gay man. There were no problems then, and there should be no problems now
In 1948 President Truman ended discrimination against African-Americans service-members with the stroke of a pen. He did the right thing, and America will always be grateful to him for his courage. He was a true American hero
In 1993 President Clinton and Congress enacted the flawed and ridiculous “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy. That policy has resulted in the firing of more than 6,000 patriotic American service-members. The cost to American taxpayers in the last five years has been more than 130 million dollars, and this figure does not include the cost of investigations.
Congress has the power to change the law and to simply drop the ban. Study after study has found in nearly every military of the world that the presence of gays does not undermine unit cohesion, and does not impair unit readiness. On the contrary, just the opposite occurs. Requiring certain service-members to hide who they are creates an environment of suspicion and fear for everyone in the military.
The lifting of the ban in Canada and Great Britain was achieved without a ripple of change. The United States and Turkey remain the two NATO countries that still discriminate against their citizens.
Forget about the “Don’t ask, Don’t tell” policy. Do the right thing and work to end the ban now. Stop wasting American lives and American taxpayers money.
…with liberty and justice for all…
James Donovan, President
Nancy Russell, Vice-president
Millard Tips, Treasurer
James C. Darby, Secretary
Daryl James, Regional Coordinator