Harvard Law School Dean Martha Minow and four other law school deans have urged key lawmakers on Capitol Hill to end the military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy.

“The effects of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ are marginalization, exclusion, and denigration,” wrote the law school deans in a March 18 letter to the Armed Services committees in the House and Senate. “Discharging gay, lesbian, and bisexual service members merely because of their sexual orientation is never justified. We have the highest regard for our students who have served and those who seek to serve in the Armed Forces, and we aim to make sure that opportunity for service is available for all of those willing to make that admirable commitment.”

Read the full text of the letter (PDF).

In addition to Minow, the letter was signed by: Christopher Edley, Jr. ’78, dean of the University of California, Berkeley, School of Law; Larry Kramer, dean of Stanford Law School; Robert C. Post, dean of Yale Law School; and Richard Revesz, dean of New York University School of Law.

The letter, which was delivered to the leaders of the Senate and House Armed Services Committees on March 18, responds to the February 2 testimony of Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Michael Mullen, who announced their support for ending “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” Gates and Mullen called for a review of the impact of the policy shift.

In his State of the Union address on January 27, President Barack Obama ’91 called for the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” In response, lawmakers launched legislation in early March that would end restrictions on homosexuals in the military. Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin has said the committee will act as soon as May on the legislation, which was proposed by Senator Joe Lieberman.