Four additional Congressional lawmakers have signed on as co-sponsors of legislation to repeal the US military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” ban on lesbian, gay and bisexual service personnel in recent days.

Republican Congressman Sherwood Boehlert (R-NY) and Democratic lawmakers Cynthia McKinney (D-GA), Julia Carson (D-IN), and Michael Doyle (D-PA) join 110 other Members of Congress in calling for repeal of the gay ban. Boehlert is the fifth Republican co-sponsor and McKinney joins nine other members of the House Armed Services Committee who are also co-sponsors of the bill. In all, 114 Members of Congress now support the legislation, introduced in March 2005 by Congressman Marty Meehan.

“More and more lawmakers of both parties are increasingly disillusioned by the military’s policy of exclusion and discrimination,” said C. Dixon Osburn, executive director of the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (SLDN).

“‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ undermines our national security and singles out lesbian and gay Americans for second class citizenship. Service to our country should be based on talent and qualification. SLDN salutes Members of Congress who are taking a stand in favor of putting our national interests ahead of anti-gay prejudice. Because of their work on this issue, the days of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ are numbered.”

A March 22 poll from the Pew Charitable Trust showed growing public support for repealing the military’s ban. According to Pew, a majority of Americans across political, geographic and religious lines now favor allowing gays to serve openly.

A majority of moderate Republicans (62%), liberal Democrats (85%), Catholics (67%), Protestants (53%), Americans living in the Northeast (66%) and those living in the South (58%) all support allowing gays to serve openly.

The results, Pew reports, “represent significantly broader support for [lifting the ban] than in 1994,”when the military’s current law was first implemented. Overall, the Pew poll showed “two-to-one” support for repealing the ban.

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