The American Bar Association sent a letter to the U.S. Senate, House of Representatives and Department of Defense on Monday expressing its "strong support" for ending the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy.
"Subjecting a person to discharge from military service on the basis of sexual orientation is, and always has been, a denial of the very constitutional protections that the oath administered to military members calls upon servicemembers to protect," wrote ABA President Carolyn Lamm.
In the congressional letter, Lamm said the ABA is ready to assist with the development of a replacement policy and the "many collateral matters" that will have to be sorted out.
She said the ABA appreciates the review process being overseen by Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, which is due for completion Dec. 1.
The ABA has a long-standing relationship with the military and understands the "special status of the armed forces" and the tools required to "maintain order and discipline." However, Lamm said the ABA, which opposed the "don’t ask, don’t tell" policy when it was implemented under President Bill Clinton in 1993, views the policy as contradictory.
"Contrary to the asserted purpose of the policy, ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ appears already to have hampered military readiness by requiring the dismissal of hundreds of highly trained and skilled personnel," Lamm wrote.