Thursday, May 27, 2010

FOF--BREAKING: House of Representative approves ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ repeal

BREAKING: House of Representative approves ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ repeal « Feast of Fun:
"The House of Representatives has passed an amendment to the Defense Department Authorization 234 to 194 that repeals the US Law that enacted the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” Policy in 1993. Ron Paul joined three other Republicans–Ros-Lehtinen, Djou, and Cao–in voting for the amendment. The 194 that voted against, however, included 26 Democrats, and believe me, I’ll help you memorize all of their names and districts soon enough–and if they have any primary opponents yet, I’ll tell you where to send your money.

Earlier today the Senate Armed Services Committee approved the Senate’s version of the amendment which will now go before the whole body. Here is the breakdown of that vote:

Yes..."

Find out who to fire next time they're up. Visit my post.

BREAKING! House passes DADT repeal!

BREAKING:

U.S. House, Senate Armed Services Committee Both Vote to Repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (SLDN), a national, legal services and policy organization dedicated to ending "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" (DADT), released a statement today after the full U.S. House of Representatives and the Senate Armed Services Committee both voted in favor of an amendment to repeal the law. SLDN was established in 1993 when DADT originally passed and has been working on its repeal ever since. SLDN also offers legal services to those impacted or discharged; last month the organization received its 10,000th call for assistance from a service member. The vote on the amendment was 234 to 194.

Statement by Army veteran and SLDN Executive Director Aubrey Sarvis:

“The U.S. House and Representatives and the Senate Armed Services Committee both passed a historic roadmap to allowing open military service, but it doesn’t end the discharges. It is important for all gay and lesbian, active-duty service members, including the reserves and the national guard, to know they’re at risk. They must continue to serve in silence under the ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ law that remains on the books. Congress and the Pentagon need to stay on track to get repeal finalized, hopefully no later than first quarter 2011. The bottom line: gay and lesbian service members remain at risk for discharge and cannot serve openly.

“Chairman Carl Levin, Senator Joe Lieberman, and Rep. Patrick Murphy showed remarkable courage and steadfastness in the face of unprecedented and inappropriate last minute lobbying by the Pentagon service chiefs who seemed to have forgotten that they are not the policy makers here. That role in our government rightly belongs to Congress and it was properly exercised today in the dismantling of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.’

“Repeal is moving forward with the support of the President and the Pentagon, including JCS Chairman Admiral Michael Mullen and Secretary of Defense Robert Gates. The repeal amendment allowed for Congress to act while respecting the ongoing work by the Pentagon on how to implement open service for lesbian and gay service members. Nothing would happen until the Pentagon Working Group completes its report and the Secretary of Defense, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the President certifies repeal.”

Read SLDN’s warning to gay and lesbian active-duty service members, including the reserves and the national guard: http://bit.ly/ds7JAL

Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (www.sldn.org) is a national, non-profit legal services and policy organization dedicated to ending “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” A journalists’ guide is available here.


My Lundon Calling post cross-posted at Bilerico has some interesting additions

My Bilerico post, cross-posted from Lundon Calling, has some really interesting additions at the end. Click the link to check it out.

Col. Grethe Cammermeyer tells it like it is | The Bilerico Project:
"The retired Colonel — the highest-ranking discharged gay or lesbian under DADT — gives us an insider's perspective on the Lundon Calling podcast.

7-gc-1.jpgShe was the subject of of the 1995 Emmy-award winning TV movie, Serving In Silence, starring Glenn Close, and after winning her case in the US Appellate Court, she went back into the military and served as an open lesbian until 1997.

Our 90 minute conversation in focused mainly on the issue of lesbian and gay discrimination in the military, but we discussed a wide range of topics from her run for United States Congress and her parents' participation in the Nazi resistance in WWII-era Norway to political parties and religion. You should know by now that no topic is off-limits for this show!"

Cross posted from Lundon Calling, with additional new info at the end--check it out.

HOLY SHIT, THE ADVOCATE JUST PICKED UP MY STORY!

Col. Grethe Cammermeyer Talks DADT | News | Advocate.com:
"Col. Grethe Cammermeyer, the highest-ranking military member ever to be discharged under the ban on gay and lesbian servicemembers, spoke about the latest developments surrounding the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy with the talk show, Lundon Calling.

Cammermeyer, a member of the Washington National Guard, was dishonorably discharged in 1992 after disclosing that she was a lesbian, before the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy existed. She filed a lawsuit and a federal district judge ruled her discharge unconstitutional, which returned her to serve openly as a lesbian until she retired in 1997.

Listen to co-hosts Ace Lundon, Lance Helms and Phil Reese interview Cammermeyer here."

I'M FREAKING DANCING HERE!

FOF--Lt. Choi fasts; hopes DADT repeal goes faster

Lt. Choi plans a hunger strike to push DADT faster.

Lt. Choi fasts; hopes DADT repeal goes faster « Feast of Fun:
"Today, the Senate Armed Services Committee will hold a vote approving the Military Readiness Enhancement Act and clearing its way to be added to the “must pass” Department of Defense Authorization bill. Even when the law is passed, however, the discharges will continue until the Pentagon changes policies.

And that’s why Dan Choi isn’t eating..."

Want to know more? Read my latest at Feast of Fun!

Col. Grethe Cammermeyer tells it like it is

Last night we recorded one of the best Lundon Calling episodes ever!

Col. Grethe Cammermeyer tells it like it is:
"Last night on Lundon Calling, Ace, Lance and I interviewed Col. Grethe Cammermeyer–the highest ranking member of the military to ever be discharged under the military’s ban on gay and lesbian servicemembers. She was the subject of of the 1995 Emmy-award winning TV movie, Serving In Silence, starring Glenn Close, and after winning her case in the US Appellate Court, she went back into the military and served as an open lesbian until 1997.

Our 90 minute conversation in Episode 73 focused mainly on the issue of lesbian and gay discrimination in the military, but we discussed a wide range of topics from her run for United States Congress to her parents’ participation in the Nazi resistance in WWII-era Norway, to political parties to religion. You should know by now that no topic is off-limits for this show!"

Visit my post and take a listen to the show--this is one of the best we ever had!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

STORIES FROM THE FRONTLINES--THURSDAY MAY 27, 2010

LETTER FOR THURSDAY, MAY 27, 2010:

“Stories from the Frontlines: Letters to President Barack Obama” is a new media campaign launched to underscore the urgent need for congressional action and presidential leadership at this critical point in the fight to repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” (DADT). Every weekday morning as we approach the markup of the Defense Authorization bill in the Senate, SLDN and a coalition of voices supporting repeal, will share an open letter to the President from a person impacted by this discriminatory law. The Defense Authorization bill represents the best legislative vehicle to bring repeal to the president’s desk. It also was the same vehicle used to pass DADT in 1993. By working together, we can help build momentum to get the votes! We ask that you forward and post these personal stories.

##

May 27, 2010

President Barack H. Obama

The White House

1600 Pennsylvania Avenue Northwest

Washington, DC 20500

Dear Mr. President,

I served my country for over thirty years. I enlisted in the army as a private and retired as a Major General. During that time, I saw a great deal of change in the Armed Forces. Racial segregation was ended in the ranks, women were recognized as equals and we moved to an all volunteer force.

My father was a laborer, my mother a domestic worker. I knew that there was no way I was headed for college. As a young Black Man I enlisted in the army long before President Truman desegregated the armed forces.

I served in segregated units (all Black) before being selected for Officers Candidate School. I then attended an integrated Leadership Academy and then Officers Candidate School which was also integrated. After graduation from OCS I was assigned to a combat arms unit for which I had been trained. I was reassigned to a service unit (Graves Registration) that was all Black.

The message was clear: It did not matter that I was qualified to serve in a combat arms unit that happen to be all white. It only mattered that I was Black.

Mr. President, I know what it is like to be thought of as second-class, and I know what it is like to have your hard work dismissed because of who you are or what you look like. I also know what a difference it made to me and others when President Truman eliminated segregation in the Armed Forces and placed qualification ahead of discrimination.

As a retired Army Commander, I also know how disruptive it is to remove a trained skilled member from a unit. In Korea, I had a Sergeant First Class in my unit who was gay. it was no secret. He was in charge of the unit’s communication. He was essential to our performance and our survival and he was dam good at his job. If I had to remove him, our unit’s effectiveness, as well as morale, most certainly would have been harmed.

Military leadership is about being able to constantly adapt to change, and I have seen the Army implement significant change and react to new directives since I enlisted. Perhaps the greatest military change is that we are now an all volunteer force. I cannot believe that we could have made that transition successfully if the services were still segregated or if the roles of women in the ranks had not been greatly expanded.

The services have, for the most part, kept pace with changes in American society as to matters of race and gender. Likewise, they must now keep pace with the changed attitude among the American people, especially younger generations, concerning sexual orientation. If they do not, military service will become a less viable option for more and more young people, and the quality of our forces will suffer. I suggest that the warriors of tomorrow will not want to become a part of an institution that does not respect their peers.

The men and women who volunteer to serve, especially in dangerous times, are the most important resource of our armed services. This includes the lesbian and gay troops who have served – and – are serving honorably. Just like their heterosexual service members, they risk their lives to defend our country. Our country owes it to them, and to all our troops to treat all who serve with respect and gratitude.

Our armed services believe in, and promote, the idea that one person can make a real difference. To commanders on the ground in Iraq, an Arabic linguist can make a difference. To a parent, whose son is bleeding on the battlefield, one lesbian nurse can make a difference.

You, too, Mr. President, can and will make a real difference here. You can make a difference in whether “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” is repealed this year, and whether implementation comes shortly thereafter.

As Martin Luther King, Jr. said, “In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.” Mr. President, do all you can; stand with us and work with us to end this denigration of our American values.

Respectfully,

Major General Vance Coleman

United States Army (Ret.)

##

STORIES FROM THE FRONTLINES--WEDNESDAY, MAY 26, 2010

LETTER FOR WEDNESDAY, MAY 26, 2010:

“Stories from the Frontlines: Letters to President Barack Obama” is a new media campaign launched to underscore the urgent need for congressional action and presidential leadership at this critical point in the fight to repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” (DADT). Every weekday morning as we approach the markup of the Defense Authorization bill in the Senate, SLDN and a coalition of voices supporting repeal, will share an open letter to the President from a person impacted by this discriminatory law. The Defense Authorization bill represents the best legislative vehicle to bring repeal to the president’s desk. It also was the same vehicle used to pass DADT in 1993. By working together, we can help build momentum to get the votes! We ask that you forward and post these personal stories.

##

May 26, 2010

President Barack H. Obama

The White House

1600 Pennsylvania Avenue Northwest

Washington, DC 20500

Dear Mr. President,

As an 18-year-old, first generation immigrant from Mexico and a newly sworn in American citizen, military service seemed the best way to repay my fellow citizens for giving my family and me a shot at a better life.

I enlisted in the Marine Corps as an Aircraft Ordnance Man. USMC Boot Camp was physically and mentally challenging, but it didn’t compare to the persecution I would encounter later in the Marines.

As a new PFC in an Aircraft Ordnance (AO) Shop in California, I developed a reputation for being a hard worker, always looking for extra duties and opportunities to expand my skills. As a result, my work ethic and excellent evaluations, I was promoted to an E3, a lance corporal. These were my best days in the military. Unfortunately, they were short numbered. With the arrival of a new gunnery sergeant, my career in the Marines soon became a struggle to survive.

The gunnery sergeant enjoyed socializing with the junior Marines in the shop, frequently taking them out drinking and to the strip clubs. I was expected to participate. I tried to be a team player so I would not be singled out. The shop soon became the squadron’s “frat pad.” Most conversation revolved around girls and hookups, often described by my comrades as “bitches and hoes.”

This behavior, beyond being tolerated, was often sponsored and enjoyed by my superiors. “Gunny” usually joined in, bragging about cheating on his wife. This environment was repulsive and contradictory to the core values of the Marine Corps: honor, courage, commitment — values I tried to live by. I was miserable, but felt powerless to do anything about it.

I still went out drinking with the guys, but tried to avoid going to strip bars or swapping stories about sexual experiences. But then Gunny became suspicious. He told me he suspected I was a “faggot” and that we should see what the rest of the guys thought about it.

Everything changed that day. My evaluation scores began to drop dramatically — from the 4.9 out of 5 average I had for three years to a 1.0. After obtaining copies of my evaluations, I learned that my direct supervisors’ scores had been crossed out and lowered by the gunnery sergeant. I had never failed at anything in life before and I was not going to let anyone tell me I was not a good Marine.

My only way out, I believed, was to transfer out of my unit. At first my requests were repeatedly denied. Eventually though, after numerous letters of recommendations from other military officers, I was transferred.

I was promoted and, when I left my new unit, I had numerous letters of recommendation. The detachment’s commanding officer wrote accolades such as, “You are a Marine with exceptional core values… a great asset to the Armed Services” and “You are a Marine of great caliber and will go far in your military career.”

Unfortunately, I was required to return to my former training squadron just months before my six year contract was up. I was back under Gunny’s command. Those last few months were a living nightmare. I constantly dreaded going to work and was afraid for my physical safety.

With the support of friends, I managed to serve eight years. I love the Marines and, under different command circumstances, I would have continued my service. In three weeks, I’ll graduate from the University of California, San Diego with a degree in structural engineering. With the your help and with open service in place at the Pentagon, I’d signup and serve my country again.

Mr. President, thank you for supporting repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” I hope that, with your leadership, no other service member will have to go through the persecution I endured in order to serve our country.

Respectfully,

Former Corporal Juan C. Perezortiz

United States Marine Corps

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

MY latest @FeastOfFun on yesterday's #DADT developments

At Feast of Fun I've broken down yesterday's DADT developments.

Get ready to salute ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ goodbye « Feast of Fun:
"It may yet be too soon to call victory, but as of today, it seems all systems are ‘go’ in terms of repealing the ban of gay and lesbian servicemembers in the armed forces–a policy otherwise known as “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell...”"

Visit the page where I break it down for you!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

FOF--BREAKING: 13 activists arrested in Sen. Durbin’s office

BREAKING: 13 activists arrested in Sen. Durbin’s office:
"Thirteen LGBT rights activists from Chicago were arrested Thursday morning during a sit-in in Senator Durbin’s office to encourage the Senator to become a leader on the Employment Non-Discrimination Act in the Senate.

The activists represented organizations from all over Illinois and were gathered in honor of Harvey Milk Week of Action. Their press release comes via Facebook..."

Read the whole post at Feast of Fun!

My latest at Out & About on Giannoulias' newest website

Alexi Giannoulias makes a bold move--launches "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" repeal website.:
"http://EqualityCantWait.com is the newest project by pro-LGBT Illinois State Treasurer and US Senate Candidate, Alexi Giannoulias. The petition site connects opponents of the military ban on gay and lesbian servicemembers to their Senators to encourage a quick and expedient repeal of the ban.

Equality Can't Wait will collect the information of LGBT servicemembers' allies and alert them in the future to other actions that they can take through the campaign's website. Though Equality Can't Wait is sparse in content right now, the campaign has big plans for Giannoulias' LGBT outreach, with similar actions for the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, a repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act and other LGBT-positive bills in the future..."

Get more details at my latest "Out & About Illinois Magazine" blog.

Stories from the Frontlines: Thursday May 20, 2010

LETTER FOR THURSDAY, MAY 20, 2010:

“Stories from the Frontlines: Letters to President Barack Obama” is a new media campaign launched to underscore the urgent need for congressional action and presidential leadership at this critical point in the fight to repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” (DADT). Every weekday morning as we approach the markup of the Defense Authorization bill in the Senate and House Armed Services Committees, SLDN and a coalition of voices supporting repeal, will share an open letter to the President from a person impacted by this discriminatory law. We are urging the President to include repeal in the Administration’s defense budget recommendations, but also to voice his support as we work to muster the 15 critical votes needed on the Senate Armed Services Committee to include repeal. The Defense Authorization bill represents the best legislative vehicle to bring repeal to the president’s desk. It also was the same vehicle used to pass DADT in 1993. By working together, we can help build momentum to get the votes! We ask that you forward and post these personal stories.

##

May 20, 2010

President Barack H. Obama

The White House

1600 Pennsylvania Avenue Northwest

Washington, DC 20500

Dear Mr. President,

Two Saturdays ago – that’s the day I was looking forward to for four years. May 8, 2010: Commissioning Day.

My parents should have pinned on my rank of Second Lieutenant. I was prepared to take the oath. To swear that I’d support and defend our constitution. But instead, I am writing a letter to you. There was no pinning. There was only the sudden reality that “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” still very much exists and is still very much enforced.

I wish that I could tell you stories about my distinguished military career, deployments, and awards. I cannot share such stories. This past January with you as my Commander-in-Chief, the opportunity to prove my merit as an Army Officer was taken away simply because I’m a lesbian.

Inspired by my grandfather’s service, I made it my goal when I was 13-years-old to spend a career as an Army doctor. This dream was a driving force for me throughout high school and helped me to be accepted at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill with a 4-year Army ROTC scholarship.

Being a Cadet has been an integral part of my identity since the first day I stepped foot on campus. I worked hard to be the best Cadet I could, and felt an obligation to my future soldiers to be a great officer. I was one of the most committed and dedicated members of my battalion. My efforts were rewarded with an “Excellent” rating this summer at the Leader Development and Assessment Camp, placing me in the top 3 Cadets in my platoon and top 20% of the nearly 5,500 Cadets who passed through Ft. Lewis.

I had the opportunity to spend three weeks at an internship at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, where I decided that I wanted to see what life was like in the active duty Army before attending medical school. Instead of immediately pursuing my medical degree, I was fortunate to receive my first choice active duty placement working in the Air Defense Artillery.

My service to my country has centered on the Army core values: Loyalty, Duty, Respect, Selfless Service, Honor, Integrity, and Personal Courage. My training has instilled these values in me, and I hold them in the highest regard. No one can take them away from me, and without them, I have nothing to fall back on.

In November of last year, I accepted that I’m a lesbian. It was the values of Honor and Integrity that forced me to come out to my Commander. I agonized wondering if I could go through my career lying about who I am, living in fear of being outed, and putting up emotional walls between me and my soldiers—the very people I must trust with my life and who would need to trust me with theirs.

As much as I longed to be an officer, I realized I was not willing to compromise my Integrity to do so.

Mr. President, I tell you this not looking for sympathy but rather to plead with you to do everything possible to end this arcane, discriminatory law. It hurts our military every day to force our men and women in uniform to lie or else face discharge.

You gave me hope that I might be able to serve honestly and openly in your State of the Union Address. If you repeal this law today, I’ll sign up to serve my country tomorrow.

Please do the right thing. Do not let any more service members be fired for being honest about who they are. Please work with Congress and the Pentagon to repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” this year.

Mr. President, we can’t wait any longer.

Very Respectfully,

Former Cadet Sara Isaacson

United States Army

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

I got a mention on Politico.com!

I got mentioned in one of Politico.com's biggest blogs! Ben Smith's Politico blog makes me officially a mainstream household name... or something.

Kirk doesn't ask, tell - Ben Smith - POLITICO.com:
"Phil Reese, of the gay blog The Bilerico Project recently wrote of lobbying against 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' with an unusual ally: The ex-wife of Republican Congressman Mark Kirk, currently the party's nominee for Senate in Illinois, and a Navy reservist who supports the policy."

Its quite an honor to be mentioned.

FOF--Equality can’t wait… Giannoulias' new LGBT website

Equality can’t wait… but the website can.:
"Yesterday I was up in Chicago for the press conference announcing the launch of Alexi Giannoulias’ new LGBT petition website EqualityCantWait.com at the Center on Halstead–a petition site that collects your information as it helps you contact your Senators about the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. By the way, both Illinois Senators (Durbin, Burris) are co-sponsors of the bill to repeal Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, so if you live here, there’s not a lot of reason (at least for now) to visit the site of the man looking to take the former Senate seat of Barack Obama. However, if you sign the petition, the campaign will be able to let you know first as the website’s functionality improves, and more campaigns are launched..."

Check out my latest Feast of Fun post to find out what's coming up with Alexi Giannoulias' new LGBT action website.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Stories from the front lines: letters to Barack Obama; LETTER FOR MONDAY, MAY 17, 2010





LETTER FOR MONDAY, MAY 17, 2010:

“Stories from the Frontlines: Letters to President Barack Obama” is a new media campaign launched to underscore the urgent need for congressional action and presidential leadership at this critical point in the fight to repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” (DADT). Every weekday morning as we approach the markup of the Defense Authorization bill in the Senate and House Armed Services Committees, SLDN and a coalition of voices supporting repeal, will share an open letter to the President from a person impacted by this discriminatory law. We are urging the President to include repeal in the Administration’s defense budget recommendations, but also to voice his support as we work to muster the 15 critical votes needed on the Senate Armed Services Committee to include repeal. The Defense Authorization bill represents the best legislative vehicle to bring repeal to the president’s desk. It also was the same vehicle used to pass DADT in 1993. By working together, we can help build momentum to get the votes! We ask that you forward and post these personal stories.

##

May 17, 2010

President Barack H. Obama

The White House

1600 Pennsylvania Avenue Northwest

Washington, DC 20500


Dear Mr. President, I am a proud Army veteran of the first Gulf War.
You won't find anyone who loves this country more. I get chills and
teary eyes, every time I hear the Pledge of Allegiance or The Star
Spangled Banner. I've been known to call a business when I see them
flying a tattered flag to let them know that if that's all the pride
they have in the American flag, they should just take it down. I am
also a proud lesbian. I joined the military in 1989, before “Don’t Ask,
Don’t Tell” (DADT) was enacted and when there was an outright ban on
gays and lesbians in the military. I did not realize at the time that I
was a lesbian, but later, when I did come to terms with my being gay, I
never tried to hide it, but I did not flaunt it either. My sexual
orientation was a non-issue. I was a hard charging soldier, promoted
long before my peers. I am sure there was talk behind my back about me
being a lesbian, but no one ever seemed to care. I was a good friend,
soldier, and leader; everyone I encountered could have cared less about
what happened in my private life. After DADT was passed, I started to
hear stories about people being discharged. I struggled with this every
day, always fearful that I would be next. Eventually, the stress of
constant fear that I could lose my job no matter how hard I worked or
how well I performed, became too much. I knew from the stories of
others that even serving to the very best of my ability could cost me
my job. I knew that an anonymous tip—by someone who was jealous of my
success, angry with me because of a disagreement, or mad because I
rebuffed a sexual advance—could trigger a demoralizing, demeaning
investigation under DADT. And if I was not willing to lie, I knew an
investigation could lead to my discharge. I was lucky, though. I did
not get kicked out, but that does not mean that DADT didn’t affect me.
The uncertainty and fear of knowing that anyone with a grudge could end
my career, and the sadness in realizing that at any time my country
could callously discard me for no other reason than the fact that I was
gay, pressured me to give up the career I loved. I chose not to
reenlist. There are days when it is hard for me not to walk into the
nearest recruiting station and sign back up. I watch what is happening
in Iraq and Afghanistan and it's hard for me to think about not being
there with the men and women I served with in the first Gulf War. I
have to remind myself why I chose not to reenlist. Defending our
country in uniform is one of the greatest privileges and
responsibilities of being an American. Many people do not appreciate
that; many take our freedoms for granted; and many do not choose to
serve. We cannot afford to lose those who want to serve, who have the
necessary skills and work ethic, and who would risk their lives for
their comrades and their country. Mr. President, in your State of the
Union Address, you said that the American people are not quitters. I
did not quit on my country during the first Gulf War and I would serve
again if called. There are at least 66,000 gays and lesbians serving
right now who do not want to quit, either. Mr. President, please don’t
quit on them. Please do everything in your power to end DADT this year.
We are counting on you. Respectfully, Former Sgt. Shonda Garrison
United States Army

Friday, May 14, 2010

My latest at The Bilerico Project is making a BIG splash--like huge.

So, this post has been up an hour, and I'm already getting calls from campaigns and reporters. What is this???

Kirk vs. Kirk: Lobbying a lawmaker on DADT with extra clout | The Bilerico Project:
"When it comes to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights, we know that powerful political families are divided, but those divisions generally never make jaws drop. Then again, I've never lobbied a lawmaker with his ex-wife before.

On Tuesday, May 11, I went to Capitol Hill with 400 veterans and civilian supporters to lobby for the repeal of the discriminatory 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell,' discharge policy applied to the ban on gay and lesbian service members in the military. The repeal of the law has vast universal appeal among all groups polled including Republicans and even members of the 'Tea Party.'

And apparently Congressional spouses..."

Read what everyone is talking about.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

FOF--Why Kagan’s rumored sexuality won’t matter in the hearing

Elena Kagan MAY be a lesbian, but its not going to matter--noone on the Senate Judiciary Committee will be bringing it up.

Why Kagan’s rumored sexuality won’t matter in the hearing:
"Is she or isn’t she?

We aren’t going to find that out any time soon. Insiders have said off the record that she’s partnered. Many others have said that she’s totally straight for guys. Either way, its not going to matter when her confirmation hearing comes up before the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Why aren’t the pols going to grill Elena Kagan on the gay thing?

Because they don’t want to open that can of worms.

The Senate Judiciary Committee includes at least one very high-profile closeted gay man in Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and perhaps two more, if Washington rumors pan out as true..."

Want to know more about the closet, and the media's role? Visit my post at Feast of Fun!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

FOF--1 more Senate vote to end #DADT

Only one more Senate vote to end “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell!”:
"Yesterday’s Veteran’s lobby day in Washington DC had some pretty good news come out: Senator Bill Nelson of Florida switched from a “NO” to a “YES.” That means that activists now only need one more vote to pass a Senate repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” with 51 votes. With a majority of the House of Representatives already in favor, getting just one more key Senate vote is going to be extremely crucial.

Here are your Senators to call:

Sen. Evan Bayh (D-IN) [(202) 224-5623]
Sen. Scott Brown (R-MA) [(202) 224-4543]
Sen. Robert Byrd (D-WV) [(202) 224-3954]
Sen. Ben Nelson (D-NE) [(202) 224-6551]
Sen. Jim Webb (D-VA) [(202) 224-4024]"

I included a few talking points in the post too. Please call today.

TBP--10 things I love most about DC

The ten things I love most about DC | The Bilerico Project:
"I know I've been a bad blogger lately, getting all wrapped up in grad school finals and work stuff--and sadly I've had little time to research what I'd really like to do: The Top Ten Direct Action Campaigns in History. In the mean time, I'm here in DC--the Center of the Universe--and I'd just like to do a quick post for you, my friends, on my ten most favorite things about coming to DC..."

To see my list, my links and my pictures, you HAVE TO VISIT the Bilerico Project!

You can help end #DADT with a phone call

My latest at Feast of Fun tells you how YOU can help end Don't Ask Don't Tell with just a simple phone call.

Veteran’s lobbying Congress today in DC, sleep-in canceled:
"I bet you thought I was going to blog about the President selecting totally straight woman Elena Kagan for Supreme Court, didn’t you!

Well, I will Thursday, but today, I’m in Washington DC to lend a hand to the Veteran’s Lobby Day on Congress being put on by Servicemembers United, Severicemembers Legal Defense Network and the Human Rights Campaign, so I wanted to bring you in on that.

Guess what?

You can help!

Before 4pm Central/5 Eastern, call the Congressional switchboard at 202.224.3121 and tell them where you live to have them connect you to your Senators’ office.

Then, HRC suggests..."
Find out how you can help end Don't Ask Don't Tell by going to my post and reading where we're at. We only need to turn ONE more NO vote into a YES vote! Senator Nelson from Florida yesterday SWITCHED TO YES when the Veterans payed him a visit. Go to my Feast of Fun post to see who to call NOW!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

My @FeastOfFun post about HRC's potential party crashers

So several GetEQUAL members are planning to spend the night at the HRC building Monday night before Veterans Lobby Day. How do you think HRC should react? I make a proposal at the end of my blog post if you go and read through...

How do YOU think HRC will react to GetEQUAL crashing on their couch?:
"I am flying out to Washington DC this Monday to help out with Veterans Lobby Day (no, not a vet, but I do believe in lobbying Congress) which is being put on by–among other sponsors–the ever popular HRC. Then I get an invite to this Facebook event:

Sleep-In at Human Rights Campaign Headquarters for Veterans Lobby Days

Start Time: Monday, May 10, 2010 at 6:30pm

End Time: Tuesday, May 11, 2010 at 7:00am

Location: Human Rights Campaign, 1640 Rhode Island Ave. N.W. Washington, DC 20036-3278

Description..."

If you want to read all about the plans, and want to weigh in with your thoughts--visit my latest blog post at Feast of Fun!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

My latest @FeastOfFun is about Sunday's DADT Protests!

I have a new blog at Feast of Fun!

Alan Bounville and other activists get arrested at White House again:
"QueerRising founder Alan Bounville (who I last week mistakenly identified during the last incident as getting arrested at McCain’s office) and other activists forced the Park Service to call the Paddy Wagon out to the White House once again on Sunday. During an anti-Dont’-Ask-Don’t-Tell rally at the White House attended by, among others, former arrestee Dan Choi, former Democratic Presidential candidate Howard Dean, and Servicemembers Legal Defense Network President Aubrey Sarvis; Bounville and six other activists joined the pantheon of protesters who have chained themselves to White House in recent weeks over the law.

This came just days after Secretary of Defense Robert Gates asked Congress to delay repealing the military’s homophobic hiring practice while the Pentagon “studies” the 17 year old law.

Upon his release, Bounville, pictured top from a previous PWG (Protesting While Gay) arrest from this winter, said the following in a video posted exclusively up at Pam’s House Blend..."

Check out my latest at Feast of Fun!

Monday, May 3, 2010

Stories from the Frontlines: Letters to President Barack Obama

Again, I'm participating in a project of the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network publishing the letters to the President from gay troops and veterans. This is an especially important effort after last week's statement from Secretary Gates that Congress should not repeal the law until the "review" is done. The policy has been in place for 17 years. Isn't that review enough?

I also have a special plea. Please vote for me in the contest for a Democracy for America scholarship to get to Netroots Nation. If I get the scholarship, it would be a huge deal for me. I would be very grateful.

First SLDN updates us on the Gates situation:

UPDATE: DADT repeal took a "devastating blow" by the Obama Administration on Friday night. To read an update sent on Saturday by SLDN visit: http://bit.ly/arfUxB

Since our launch last Monday, we now have 35 blogs and websites participating in our letters to the president new media campaign and we continue to grow. In just one day, we had more than 144,000 hits to the campaign landing page.

The campaign website: www.sldn.org/letters

The campaign short link: http://bit.ly/coCEHY

Today's story from the front lines:

LETTER FOR MONDAY, MAY 3, 2010:

May 3, 2010

President Barack H. Obama

The White House

1600 Pennsylvania Avenue Northwest

Washington, DC 20500

Dear Mr. President,

After the recent letter by Secretary of Defense Robert Gates recommended the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” be delayed, this is my plea to you on the behalf of the soldiers serving in silence to end this law now:

I never wanted anything more in my life than to be a career officer. My entire childhood I was exposed to abuse, violence, and crime. I came out of it all with a simple, yet overwhelming desire to serve. When my first attempt at getting into the Naval Academy failed, I waited restlessly until I turned eighteen. I enlisted on my birthday and set off to prove myself to the Academy. I was eager to leave the cruelty of my past and join a true family.

I knew I was gay, but it was irrelevant to me then. I was determined to join an elite team of handlers working with dogs trained to detect explosives. As I studied hard to pass exams and complete training, I was convinced that the current law would protect me. I knew that based on merit and achievement I would excel in the military.

I never told anyone I was gay. But a year and a half later while serving in the Middle East, I was tormented by my chief and fellow sailors, physically and emotionally, as they had their suspicions. The irony of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" is that it protects bigots and punishes gays who comply.

Shop talk in the unit revolved around sex, either the prostitute-filled parties of days past or the escapades my comrades looked forward to. They interpreted my silence and total lack of interest as an admission of homosexuality. My higher-ups seemed to think that gave them the right to bind me to chairs, ridicule me, hose me down and lock me in a feces-filled dog kennel.

On one day in the Middle East, I was ordered by a superior to get down on my hands and knees and simulate oral sex on a person working in the kennel. We were supposed to pretend that we were in our bedroom and that the dogs were catching us in the act. Over and over, with each of the dogs in our unit, I was forced to endure this scenario.

I told no one about what I was living through. I feared that reporting the abuse would lead to an investigation into my sexuality. Frankly, as we continue to delay the repeal of this horrible law, I can’t help but wonder how many people find themselves in similar, despicable situations and remain silent. My anger today doesn’t come from the abuse, but rather from the inhumanity of a standing law that allowed for it.

Three and a half years later when the Navy started investigating claims of hazing, I had finally earned my place at the Naval Academy Preparatory School. But instead of celebration, I began to question the life of persecution, degradation, and dishonor DADT had forced on me. I questioned the institution -- our great military -- that would condone and endorse this kind of treatment of its own members. The only thing I had ever done wrong was to want the same thing my straight counterparts wanted: a brotherhood and something to stand for.

At NAPS I realized that a career of service under DADT would be a forfeiture of my basic human rights. It would be a forfeiture of basic job security, peace of mind, and meaningful relationships, particularly with my fellow straight service members whom I was forced

to deceive and betray.

After completing a six-week officer candidate boot camp, my commanders said they wanted to offer me a leadership role. But after what happened in the Middle East and even the suicide of my close friend, I was mentally and emotionally depleted. And so -- with my knees buckling -- I offered my statement of resignation in writing:

"I am a homosexual. I deeply regret that my personal feelings are not compatible with Naval regulations or policy. I am proud of my service and had hoped I would be able to serve the Navy and the country for my entire career. However, the principles of honor, courage and commitment mean I must be honest with myself, courageous in my beliefs, and committed in my action. I understand that this statement will be used to end my Naval career."

They say some people are just born designed for military service. It‘s the way we are wired, and the only thing that makes us happy. For too many of us, it‘s the only family we ever had. I am sure now, more than ever, after all the loss and hardship under DADT, that all I want to do is serve as a career military officer.

Mr. President, any delay in repeal is a clear signal to our troops that their gay brothers and sisters in arms are not equal to them. I plead that you take the lead -- fight for repeal -- and allow qualified men and women to serve their country.

Very respectfully,

Joseph Christopher Rocha

Former Petty Officer Third Class, U.S. Navy


Thanks for reading.

“Stories from the Frontlines: Letters to President Barack Obama” is a new media campaign launched to underscore the urgent need for congressional action and presidential leadership at this critical point in the fight to repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” (DADT). Every weekday morning as we approach the markup of the Defense Authorization bill in the Senate and House Armed Services Committees, SLDN and a coalition of voices supporting repeal, will share an open letter to the President from a person impacted by this discriminatory law. We are urging the President to include repeal in the Administration’s defense budget recommendations, but also to voice his support as we work to muster the 15 critical votes needed on the Senate Armed Services Committee to include repeal. The Defense Authorization bill represents the best legislative vehicle to bring repeal to the president’s desk. It also was the same vehicle used to pass DADT in 1993. By working together, we can help build momentum to get the votes! We ask that you forward and post these personal stories.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

The most comprehensive #DADT update EVER!

I didn't write a word of this. This all comes from Servicemember's Legal Defense Network's Trevor Thomas. Its all public knowledge, even though it came in a talking points email, but its so beautifully compiled, I have to share it with all of you. My apologies for its length--its just so amazing, so complete. Please read it all, and get the straight-up skinny on everything DADT!





MEDIA UPDATE: The following is background information for media and others monitoring the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” (DADT):

STORIES FROM THE FRONTLINES: LETTERS TO PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA / ONLINE CAMPAIGN GROWS: 33 BLOGS, WEBSITES AND GROWING…

--Servicemembers Legal Defense Network launched on Monday “Stories from the Frontlines: Letters to President Barack Obama,” a new media campaign to underscore the urgent need for congressional action and presidential leadership at this critical point in the fight to repeal DADT.

--Every weekday morning as markup of the Defense Authorization bill in the Senate and House Armed Services Committees draws near, a coalition of voices supporting repeal will share an open letter to the President from a person impacted by this discriminatory law.

TODAY’S LETTER WRITER: ACTIVE-DUTY MILITARY CHAPLAIN BACK FROM IRAQ: www.sldn.org/letters.

--Key excerpts:As an active-duty military chaplain who just returned from a 15-month deployment in Iraq, this is my appeal for justice… If one gay person was killed in defense of America, issues such as the destruction of unit morale or the fear of people not wanting to join the military devalue their sacrifice. This is not about appeasing the uncomfortable feelings of a minority; this is a universal and transcendent matter of justice. …’Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ is an unjust law. It degrades the human soul…”

WASHINGTON POST’S ED O’KEEFE HIGHLIGHTS CAMPAIGN: Tapping into President Obama's interest in reading letters from ordinary Americans, a group opposed to the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy for at least the next month plans to publish letters sent to the president from people impacted by the gay ban.”

--Continue reading: http://voices.washingtonpost.com/federal-eye/2010/04/new_campaign_for_dont_ask_repe.html

FAITH VOICES SPEAK OUT IN SUPPORT OF REPEAL: A broad coalition of faith voices spoke out on Wednesday against the discriminatory “Don’t ask, Don’t Tell” law that prevents some of the best and brightest women and men from serving their country.

--“As military chaplains, we routinely work with service members whose faith traditions and belief systems are different from ours. The idea that repeal of DADT will infringe on our religious liberty is insulting to all the serving chaplains who professionally minister to and with people of diverse beliefs every day,” said Captain John F. Gundlach, a retired Chaplain of the U.S. Navy.

--Continue reading: www.hrc.org/14345.htm

SPEAKER PELOSI WANTS HOUSE VOTE ON REPEAL -- VIA SPOKESPERSON: “It is the Speaker’s intention that a vote will be taken this year on [‘don’t ask, don’t tell’] in the House.”

--Continue reading at DC Agenda: http://www.dcagenda.com/2010/04/26/pelosi-plans-dont-ask-repeal-vote-this-year/

U.S. REP. TAMMY BALDWIN EXPRESSES DISAPPOINTMENT WITH PRESDIENT ON REPEAL: From The Advocate’s Kerry Eleveld:Baldwin expressed disappointment with the White House for suggesting that Congress shouldn’t take action until the report is issued and said she wished President Barack Obama would weigh in… Baldwin: “He has the most powerful bully pulpit in the world, and I hope he uses it to advance equality,” she said.

“RARE STRATEGIC DISCUSSIONS” TAKING PLACE ON REPEAL BETWEEN SENATE AND HOUSE: U.S. Rep. Tammy Baldwin to The Advocate: “Particularly on ‘don’t ask, don’t tell,’ there have been strategic discussions already between the House and Senate on how to move that forward because it makes sense to incorporate it as part, ultimately, of the Defense authorization bill,” she said.

--“According to Democratic aides, the offices of Sens. Levin and Joe Lieberman of Connecticut and Rep. Murphy have been coordinating efforts on repeal language so that any attachments to the Defense funding bill will be similar in nature,” The Advocate reported.

--Continue reading: http://www.advocate.com/News/Daily_News/2010/04/28/Pelosis_Promise_for_Dont_Ask_Dont_Tell_Vote_Encouraging/

LIST OF CONGRESSIONAL SPONSORS SUPPORTING REPEAL GROWS:

--The Military Readiness Enhancement Act (H.R.1283), the repeal bill in the U.S. House, has 192 cosponsors.

--U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy, chief sponsor “has indicated repeatedly that he has the votes to pass it.” (The Advocate)

GAY CITY NEWS PUBLISHES COMPREHENSIVE INSIDE LOOK AT REPEAL THIS YEAR:

-- "The president can make a difference if he’s on the phone with some of these key House members and some of these key senators. Indeed, I would say whether we get this or not could well depend on the leadership that we see from the White House over the next several weeks,” said SLDN’s Aubrey Sarvis.

--Continue reading: http://www.gaycitynews.com/articles/2010/04/29/gay_city_news/news/doc4bd9c2efdd048519770426.txt

LEGISLATIVE OPTIONS ON REPEAL RESPECT PENTAGON WORKING GROUP:

--SLDN’s Aubrey Sarvis pens op-ed for ROLL CALL– excerpts: “Last year, the president and his White House team agreed to a review process with Defense Secretary Robert Gates and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Adm. Michael Mullen, both of whom have directed commanders to come up with recommendations on how to implement open military service should Congress vote to repeal the DADT law. Clearly, Gates and Mullen wanted a full year, and political operatives at the White House who were not eager for a repeal vote until after the November 2010 midterm elections eagerly said yes.”

--Recommendations for the committee leaders to consider:

1. DADT investigations and discharges will not end until the recommendations of the Pentagon Working Group have been received and considered; Secretary Gates will retain authority over this process.

2. Under the present schedule, the PWG will make its recommendations by Dec. 1, and 60 days later, DOD can issue directions and instructions to each service on how to proceed with open service.

3. An additional 60 days after that, each service can issue regulations.

4. Therefore, DADT would not be repealed until 180 days after the bill is signed.

5. And in early 2011, the committees can consider any additional recommendations from the Pentagon.

--Continue reading at RollCall.com: http://www.rollcall.com/news/45597-1.html

LT. DAN CHOI, OF “GET EQUAL,” TO SPEAK AT HARVARD TONIGHT: The talk, called "Truth and Consequences: One Man's Quest to Openly Serve his Country" will begin at 6 p.m. at the John F. Kennedy Jr. Forum, 79 JFK Street, in Cambridge.

--Link to watch LIVE: http://www.iop.harvard.edu/Multimedia-Center/All-Videos/The-Forum-LIVE

(HAT TIP: PamsHouseBlend.com)

WHITE HOUSE EVENT ON SUNDAY BY GetEQUAL/QUEER RISING/TALK ABOUT EQUALITY: Per release:On May 2nd at 12:00 noon (EDT), [groups] will gather outside the White House to demand that President Obama immediately include ‘Don¹t Ask, Don¹t Tell’ repeal language in his Defense Authorization transmittals to Congress to ensure repeal of the ban this year.

--Speakers Include: Lt. Dan Choi, Capt. Jim Pietrangelo II, Lt. Robin Chaurasiya, Cpl. Evelyn Thomas, Spc. Jarrod Chlapowski, Maj. Mike Almy, Capt. Tanya Domi, Cpl. Brett Edward Stout, Sgt. Brian Fricke,

Sgt. Justin Elzie.

LOBBY DAY CALLING FOR REPEAL MAY 11:

-- On May 10-11, hundreds of veterans from across the United States will descend on Washington, DC with one clear message for Congress: “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” (DADT) needs to go and it needs to go this year!

--The National Veterans Lobby Day on DADT will take place immediately before the National Defense Authorization bill – the bill that should contain DADT repeal language – is drafted on Capitol Hill.

--For a list of participating organizations visit the website: http://veteranslobbyday.org/

FIVE PEOPLE ARRESTED PROTESTING SEN. MCCAIN’S OFFICE: Five activists with Human Equal Rights Organizers (HERO) were arrested Monday while protesting “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” (DADT) at Sen. John McCain’s office in Arizona. Read their open letter to the Senator: http://www.sdgln.com/news/2010/04/26/five-dadt-protesters-arrested-sen-john-mccains-office-phoenix-2

WHY THIS IS A CRITICAL TIME:

--SLDN and other coalition voices are urging the President to include repeal in the Administration’s defense budget recommendations, but also to voice his support as we work to muster the 15 critical votes needed on the Senate Armed Services Committee to include repeal.

--The House and Senate Armed Services Committees will markup the Defense Authorization bill in a few short weeks.

--The Defense Authorization bill represents our best legislative vehicle to bringing repeal to the president’s desk. It also was the same vehicle used to pass DADT in 1993.

LAYOUT FOR REPEAL / HOUSE AND SENATE TRACKS:

--Sen. Mark Udall told the Denver Post the committee was “within a vote or two” of including repeal in the Defense Authorization bill. Udall is a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee.

--Rep. Jared Polis, who holds a key position on the House Rules Committee, told the Denver Post he is willing to help insert a similar provision in the House version of the Defense Authorization bill with the help of Rep. Patrick Murphy, who is the lead sponsor of the House repeal bill.

EXPECTED CALENDAR DATES:

--The House Armed Services Committee markup of the Defense Authorization bill is expected May 19.

--The Senate Armed Services Committee markup of the Defense Authorization bill is expected the week of May 24.

WHAT WE’RE HEARING:

--The House may move the Defense Authorization bill for a floor vote as early as the week of May 24.

WHITE HOUSE SIGNALS REASON FOR CONCERN:

--White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs signaled from the podium that the president is likely not going to push for repeal this year.

--From the Advocate: “President Barack Obama is allowing the Department of Defense to run the course of its investigation as to how to repeal "don't ask, don't tell," White House press secretary Robert Gibbs told reporters Wednesday. The DOD's study is due December 1, suggesting legislative action will likely be ruled out until after the new year.”

--The question was asked by Advocate White House correspondent Kerry Eleveld: http://www.advocate.com/News/Daily_News/2010/04/21/Gibbs_Says_DADT_May_be_on_Hold_Until_2011/

DENVER POST: WHITE HOUSE LIKELY TO OPPOSE EFFORTS

--The Denver Post reported: “Congressional aides said both approaches are likely to face opposition from the White House, which in February laid a timetable built around an extensive Pentagon study that won't be completed until Dec. 1, pushing a final move on the contentious issue past what's expected to be Democrats' toughest election cycle in years.”

--Read the full story by Post reporter Michael Riley: http://www.denverpost.com/news/ci_14925042

KEY SENATORS ON ARMED SERVICES COMMITTEE:

Listed are senators the coalition is actively engaging to shore up support for repeal this year:

--Scott Brown, MA

--Evan Bayh, IN

--Robert Byrd, WV

--Jim Webb, VA

--Ben Nelson, NE

--Bill Nelson, FL

WHAT THE PRESIDENT SAID IN THE STATE OF THE UNION:

--January 27, 2010: President Barack Obama tells the American people “this year” he will work to repeal DADT

--State of The Union address transcript: “This year, I will work with Congress and our military to finally repeal the law that denies gay Americans the right to serve the country they love because of who they are. It's the right thing to do.”

--Source: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/remarks-president-state-union-address

PUSHING THE PRESIDENT:

--SLDN Executive Director Aubrey Sarvis sent a letter to President Obama on April 19 urging him to include repeal language in his defense budget recommendations.

--Read the letter: http://www.scribd.com/doc/30169921/SLDN-s-Letter-to-the-President

--Key excerpts from the letter:

“As you prepare to send your final defense budget recommendations to the House and Senate committees, this is both the time and place for you to reaffirm your strong commitment to repealing this law. … I am very disturbed by multiple reports from Capitol Hill that your Congressional liaison team is urging some Members of Congress to avoid a vote on repeal this year. The upcoming House and Senate votes will be close, and very frankly, Mr. President, we need your help now.

As a veteran, and on behalf of thousands of men and women who have served and want to serve their country openly, I ask you today to stand by your encouraging words to the American people in your State of The Union address: “This year, I will work with Congress and our military to finally repeal the law that denies gay Americans the right to serve the country they love because of who they are. It's the right thing to do.”

NEW GROUP FIGHTING FOR REPEAL, “GET EQUAL” STOPS THE PRESIDENT’S SPEECH:

--From the White House pool report as printed in Politico’s Playbook: “'Pool report 5 -- NEWS gay rights protesters interrupt' – WashTimes' Kara Rowland: 'At 6:17, several protesters among the crowd interrupted POTUS' speech, expressing anger over the slow progress on repealing the military's 'don't ask, don't tell' policy on gay service members. The crowd tried to hush them. 'What about don't ask, don't tell?' one protester shouted. POTUS yelled back 'we are going to do that.' POTUS kept talking, increasing his volume to speak over the protesters. The crowd then erupted into chants of 'Yes, we can.' ... [T]he protesters are from GetEQUAL, a lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender group that also orchestrated protests outside the fundraiser. The group was also behind a protest last month at the White House, where activists Lt. Dan Choi and Capt. James Pietrangelo handcuffed themselves to a gate.'”

DISCHARGES CONTINUE:

--The Los Angeles Times: “Reversing an earlier decision, the Air Force said Monday that it intends to discharge a lesbian Air Force officer who had remained in the military despite openly declaring her homosexuality. … In a statement, the Air Force said that its Air Mobility Command recommended Chaurasiya be discharged. A final decision will be made by Air Force Secretary Michael B. Donley.”

--Read the full story: http://articles.latimes.com/2010/apr/20/news/sc-dc-dont-ask20-20100420-14

WARNING TO ALL SERVICE MEMBERS:

--After carefully reviewing the new Pentagon Instructions, SLDN’s legal team sent a warning to service members serving right now:Despite mainstream media reports that service members can no longer be outed by ‘third parties,’ it’s important that the 66,000 lesbian, gay, and bisexual service members understand that they can still be fired under DADT – even if outed by so called ‘third parties.’”

--“We recognize that the new DoD Instructions further define what “credible information from a reliable source” may mean, but based on SLDN’s preliminary analysis, we cannot guarantee that service members are protected.

--The updated language does not change the fact that statements, acts, or same-sex marriage, are still grounds for discharge under DADT, including:

A service member can still be fired if outed by his or her parents;

A service member can still be fired for revealing his or her sexual orientation while making a statement to the police that would prevent or help solve a crime;

A service member’s middle school teacher can still out the service member 10 years after he came out to her in social studies class;

A service member can still be discharged if he reports that someone has threatened to kill him for being gay;

A service member can still be fired for hugging someone of the same sex;

A service member can still be fired for getting married; and

A service member can still be fired for saying she would like to return from Iraq to care for her dying girlfriend.

Continue reading: http://www.sldn.org/blog/archives/service-members-still-at-risk-under-new-dadt-instructions/

ADMIRAL MICHAEL MULLEN, CHAIRMAN OF THE JOINT CHIEFS OF STAFF SUPPORTS REPEAL:

--At the Senate Armed Services Committee hearing February 2 – the first to discuss repeal -- Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Michael Mullen made it clear that DADT does not serve in the best interest of our men and women in uniform: "I cannot escape being troubled by the fact that we have in place a policy which forces young men and women to lie about who they are in order to defend their fellow citizens. For me, personally, it comes down to integrity - theirs as individuals and ours as a nation.”

--From The Hill’s Roxana Tiron: “The nation’s senior military officials removed a huge obstacle to gays serving openly in the military by telling Congress on Tuesday that they support President Barack Obama’s decision to repeal the ‘Don’t ask, don’t tell’ law.” LINK: http://thehill.com/homenews/administration/79275-adm-mullen-repealing-dont-ask-dont-tell-is-the-right-thing-to-do

KEY VOICES SUPPORTING REPEAL:

--Current and former military and government leaders are fully behind repeal:

o Secretary of Defense Robert Gates;

o Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Michael Mullen;

o Gen. Raymond Odierno;

o Gen. David Petraeus;

o Vice President Richard Cheney;

o President Bill Clinton;

o Secretary of Defense William Cohen;

o Ret. Marine Corps Gen. James Jones;

o General John Shalikashvili

o General Colin Powell

104 GENERALS AND ADMIRALS SUPPORT REPEAL:

--In addition, a letter signed by 104 retired admirals and generals was released in late 2008 and included a strong call for repeal: http://palmcenter.org/press/dadt/releases/104Generals%2526Admirals-GayBanMustEnd

RECENT QUOTES RELATED TO REPEAL:

January 12, 2010: SLDN Executive Director Aubrey Sarvis sends a letter to the President asking for repeal to be included in defense budget

“By proposing to repeal the law in your defense bill, you will make it clear to Congress and to the American people that we can eliminate this wrong in 2010,” said Aubrey Sarvis, executive director of Servicemembers Legal Defense Network. (Roll Call, page 11, January 12, 2010)

Source: http://sldn.3cdn.net/3c0e23bcf5603672c7_l0cm6018z.pdf

January 27, 2010: President Barack Obama tells the American people “this year” he will work to repeal DADT

State of The Union address transcript: “This year, I will work with Congress and our military to finally repeal the law that denies gay Americans the right to serve the country they love because of who they are. It's the right thing to do.”

Source: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/remarks-president-state-union-address

February 22, 2010: White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs dodges question on repeal happening this year

The Advocate’s Kerry Eleveld asked White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs: “Senator Lieberman is planning to introduce a "don't ask, don't tell" repeal bill next week. Would the president like to see Congress pass repeal this year?” Gibbs said that he believed "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" would be legislatively repealed, but he stopped short of committing to passing the legislation this year.

Source: http://www.advocate.com/News/Daily_News/2010/02/22/Gibbs_Noncommittal_on_Repeal_Time_Line/

March 15, 2010: Rep. Barney Frank says White House does not want repeal done this year

The Advocate’s Kerry Eleveld noted to U.S. Rep. Barney Frank that the White House has failed to designate the defense authorization bill over a stand-alone bill as its preferred method for repealing the policy, Frank responded: “That’s because they don’t want it done this year, not because they want it done separately.”

Source: http://www.advocate.com/Politics/Washington_D_C_/View_From_Washington_Universal_Stagnation/

March 15, 2010: Rep. Barney Frank clarifies statement and asks the Administration to “make clear” it supports DADT repeal this year

Later the same day, U.S. Rep. Barney Frank reframed his statement to Ms. Eleveld and released this following statement: “I believe that the Administration should make clear that it supports legislative action this year, and that while implementation is being worked out, it will carry out the policy in the way it was originally intended, which would reduce the number of discharges, in my view, by over 90%."

Source: http://www.advocate.com/News/Daily_News/2010/03/15/Frank_Revises_Statement_Re_White_House_Position_On_DADT/

March 25, 2010: Defense Sec. Robert Gates says he does NOT support legislative action this year

DC Agenda’s Chris Johnson asked Defense Sec. Robert Gates: “Do you support a legislative change to DADT, whether it's a moratorium or outright repeal, this year before the Pentagon completes its study on the issue.”

Secretary Gates: “I do not recommend a change in the law before we have completed our study.”

Source: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KtRWb2N9t0Y&feature=player_embedded

March 26, 2010: Rep. Barney Frank says the White House is “ducking” on repeal this year

U.S. Rep. Barney Frank speaking to Metro Weekly on the White House working on repeal said: ''They're ducking. Basically, yeah, they're not being supportive, and they're letting Gates be the spokesman, which is a great mistake.''

Source: http://gay.americablog.com/2010/03/barney-says-white-house-is-ducking-dadt.html

March 30, 2010: SLDN Executive Director Aubrey Sarvis again presses the White House to include repeal in the defense budget

“When Congress comes back next month the White House should make it clear that repeal of DADT this year is a top priority for President Obama. One sure way to send that clear signal is for the President to include repeal language in his defense budget bill going up to Capitol Hill in a few short weeks. The President’s defense budget repeal language should mirror the words in his State of the Union speech to Congress and the American people.”

Source: http://www.sldn.org/news/archives/sldn-rejects-doj-brief-on-log-cabin-dadt-challenge/

April 12, 2010: Rep. Barney Frank says he is “frustrated” and “disappointed” with the Administration on DADT repeal

Talking to reporter Karen Ocamb, U.S. Rep. Barney Frank said: “I’m frustrated. I’m disappointed with the administration. …His not being for it will give people an excuse to not vote for it. Thing is – we’ve done hate crimes. We do ENDA. It’s a big agenda all at once. At this point – the President’s refusal to call for repeal this year is a problem."

Source: http://www.lgbtpov.com/2010/04/rep-barney-frank-on-enda-dadt-and-how-lgbts-should-lobby-like-the-nra/

April 13, 2010: House Majority Leader says he is waiting for direction from the Administration; adds there is no known time line for repeal

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer told Congressional Quarterly that legislative action on DADT “would await recommendation from the Pentagon, noting that both Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, have said that they support ending the policy.”

The same day, the Advocate reported: “To date, the House has not gotten such a directive from the Pentagon, nor has the White House weighed in on taking legislative action this year. House leaders do not plan “to tie changes to ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’” to the Department of Defense authorization bill. Hoyer also said he had no time line yet for consideration of repeal legislation.”

Source: http://www.advocate.com/News/Daily_News/2010/04/13/Dem_Leadership_Bullish_on_ENDA/

April 14, 2010: The White House releases broad statement on DADT explaining repeal is not “off the table”

“…The Office of Legislative Affairs continues to engage lawmakers, and at no time has the White House asked any Member to take this issue off the table."

Source: http://gay.americablog.com/2010/04/white-house-issues-odd-statement-on.html

April 21, 2010: White House Press Secretary signaled from the podium that the president is likely not going to push for repeal this year

From the Advocate: “President Barack Obama is allowing the Department of Defense to run the course of its investigation as to how to repeal "don't ask, don't tell," White House press secretary Robert Gibbs told reporters Wednesday. The DOD's study is due December 1, suggesting legislative action will likely be ruled out until after the new year.” The question was asked by Advocate White House correspondent Kerry Eleveld: http://www.advocate.com/News/Daily_News/2010/04/21/Gibbs_Says_DADT_May_be_on_Hold_Until_2011/





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