U.S. Representatives draft call for gay rights

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Tammy Baldwin, U.S. Representative for Wisconsin, yesterday claimed that the Democratic platform will contain an ‘historic’ demand for gay rights.

Ms. Baldwin, an out lesbian, is a member of the committee drafting the document, which was passed last week.

The platform will go to the Democratic National Convention for approval by delegates next week.

Ms. Baldwin said the platform will oppose the U.S. military’s ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ policy, and that this would be the first instance of gay rights being enshrined in a political platform, reports the Capital Times.

The representative has long opposed the military’s policy on gays and lesbians.

At a House Armed Services Committee’s Military Personnel Subcommittee in July 2008, Ms. Baldwin said:

‘Due to this discriminatory policy, thousands of dedicated service members have been forced out of the military, depriving our nation of their needed skills.

‘I deplore ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ and applaud Subcommittee Chair Representative Susan Davis for holding this open forum to review the harmful policy.

‘It is my sincere hope that this hearing will lay the groundwork for Congressional action to end discrimination against gays and lesbians in our armed forces.’

She claims that 12,500 members of the U.S. armed forces have been expelled since the enactment of ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’, costing the U.S. government $360 million (£192 million).

Congresswoman Baldwin is also a co-chair of Barack Obama’s LGBT Steering and Policy Committee.

Of her position on the committee, she said:

‘I am proud to support Barack Obama for President and work hard for his election because we share a commitment to equality for all Americans.

‘This is our quest and our common goal.’

‘From now through November, we will reach out aggressively to our fellow LGBT Americans to ensure that they know there is only one candidate in this race who will stand up for equal rights and build a coalition that can deliver the change that we desperately need.’