Washington, DC - Michael Mitchell, Executive Director of the National Stonewall Democrats, released a statement today regarding recent comments by Sen. Mark Pryor (D-AR) on the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy:
"At National Stonewall Democrats, part of our mission is to hold Democrats accountable for how their views and votes affect our community,” said Michael Mitchell, National Stonewall Democrats Executive Director. “It saddens me that from time to time we have to call members of our Party on the carpet for their backwards views on equality and the votes that adversely affect the LGBT community.
“Sen. Mark Pryor (D-AR) voted against cloture on the National Defense Authorization Act in September, joining the entire GOP caucus and the other Senator from Arkansas, Blanche Lincoln (Majority Leader Harry Reid voted against cloture as well in a procedural move that allows him to bring it up for reconsideration). In a recent article in an Arkansas newspaper, Pryor reaffirmed that he will do so again, saying that he believes the military needs ‘a bit longer’ to study the issue of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell repeal and citing concerns about troop housing. It also disturbs us that he said he believes ‘homosexuality is a sin.’
“Today’s release of the Pentagon Working Group study on open service shows that our military is staffed and run by intelligent Americans who can work alongside lesbian and gay soldiers serving openly in their midst, and that logistical issues such as housing will be handled efficiently and wisely,” Mitchell continued. “Pryor is behind where the large majority of the military already is, and behind where the large majority of Americans are.”
“Sen. Pryor needs to remember that he represents all Arkansans, not just straight, Christian ones,” said Angela Frazier, Vice President of the Stonewall Democrats of Arkansas. “Everyone is entitled to their beliefs – and we are not suggesting at all that Sen. Pryor can’t practice his chosen religion. We are strongly suggesting, however, that he consider being a leader in a way that includes all Arkansans and be mindful of his language when referring to entire swaths of the constituents he represents.
“We ask Sen. Pryor to trust the thorough process that the military just went through and to trust what the study says about open service by lesbian and gay troops,” Frazier continued. “We ask both him and Sen. Blanche Lincoln to vote for cloture and for the NDAA, including the repeal of DADT.”