Published November 10, 2009
The American Medical Association on Tuesday formally called for the repeal of the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy, joining the efforts of gay rights groups to pressure the Obama administration to follow through on his pledge to end the controversial policy.
The nation's largest doctors' group adopted a resolution advocating for the repeal as well as a resolution declaring that gay marriage bans contribute to health disparities for gay couples and their children.
The latter resolution stops short of opposing gay marriage bans, but declares that they leave gays vulnerable to being excluded from health care benefits.
Servicemembers United, the largest advocacy group for gay veterans and troops, applauded the AMA in a written statement Tuesday afternoon.
"This is yet another nail in the coffin of the flawed and outdated 'don't ask, don't tell' law, and it should send a strong message to those who continue to blindly claim that this policy works," Servicemembers United Director Alexander Nicholson said in the statement.
Obama has faced criticism from gay rights groups for dragging his feet on repealing the policy which prohibits homosexuals from serving openly in the military. The president renewed his pledge to do so in October in a speech before the advocacy group the Human Rights Campaign.
The AMA, meanwhile, has taken on elevated significance in Washington in recent weeks. Obama touted its endorsement of the House health care reform bill last week before the overhaul package was approved by a narrow margin Saturday night.
The vote came amid rumblings that AMA members were unhappy with the endorsement and would seek to rescind it. But at the group's four-day interim policy-making meeting in Houston, an attempt to take the endorsement back failed by a wide margin, as did a proposal to oppose any government-run insurance plan.
The organization, though, passed resolutions Monday clarifying that the group opposes Medicare cuts and is in favor of "effective medical liability reform," which critics have said is not adequately addressed in the legislation.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.