Important Note: While legislation to repeal Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell was signed into law, the policy is still in effect. If you or someone you know is in the military and gay, lesbian, bisexual, or queer, please refer them to Servicemember Legal Defense Network’s Warning to Service Members on Don’t Ask Don’t Tell
Archive for the ‘Don't Ask, Don't Tell’ Category
Friends & Supporters,
As we informed you earlier today, the House of Representatives passed a stand-alone version of Don’t Ask, Don’t repeal last night 250-175! We also forwarded you an alert from our partners at SLDN on how you can help ensure that the Senate takes up and passes the repeal bill. Three senators have indicated they have joined the “Yes on repeal” camp and we now have more up to date information from SLDN to share with you. Please read their brief and then take action now!
So where do we go from here? Back to the Senate, which is still mired in other business like START, the omnibus bill, and – most recently – a watered-down version (doesn’t include DADT repeal) of the NDAA, agreed upon by Levin and McCain. Now we need to make sure we get the DADT stand-alone bill scheduled and passed on the Senate floor before the Senate goes home for the holidays.
The bill passed in the House was “privileged,” meaning Reid can bring it up first, before other business. What remains to be seen is how the timing willactually play out. Lieberman told CNN last night that he expects a Sunday or Monday vote. Once Reid brings the bill to the floor, it can be immediately debated (no 60 votes needed to proceed to debate). But, we will need 60 votes to get OFF the bill and vote on final passage. Then, the bill will be sent to the President’s desk.
So, about getting involved! We released an action alert to our list last evening (below) asking for calls to senators, to build on the momentum from the House vote. Once we have a Senate vote scheduled, we’ll be ready with another ask for calls. The target list has changed from the one in the action alert, in light of recent statements from Snowe, Murkowski, and Brown. The messaging can also shift slightly to tell the Senate to pass the House bill (not just to pass repeal). The targets list is now:
–John Ensign (R-NV);
–George LeMieux (R-FL);
–Richard Lugar (R-IN);
–Judd Gregg (R-NH);
–George Voinovich (R-OH);
–Kit Bond (R-MO);
–Mark Kirk (R-IL);
–And the sole unpersuaded Democrat: Joe Manchin (D-WV)
Thank you again for all of your support – on to the Senate we go!!
Dear Friends & Supporters,
Our partners at Servicemembers Legal Defense Network asked us to relay this import call to action to you. Please join us in demanding that gay, lesbian, and bisexual servicemembers be able to serve openly.
This evening, the full House voted on a stand-alone bill to repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” This is a notable victory that helps build momentum as we push the Senate to take immediate action before the lame-duck session ends. We are grateful for the extraordinary leadership of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD), and Rep. Patrick Murphy (D-PA).
Now, we turn our attention back to the Senate. We’ll still need 60 votes to complete the bill and send it directly to the President’s desk.
We cannot underestimate Senators John McCain (R-AZ) and Mitch McConnell (R-KY), who will do everything they can to kill repeal. We need to fight back on any amendments, which would change the bill language and cause further delay.
Call both your senators and tell them to vote with Majority Leader Reid, Chairman Levin, and Senator Lieberman on the Senate floor.
Capitol switchboard: (202) 224-3121
Here’s a sample script for your call:
“Hello, my name is ______ and I’m a constituent from __________ (city, state).
I’m calling to tell Senator _______ to stand with Majority Leader Reid, Chairman Levin, and Senator Lieberman and vote for ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ repeal. Fight back against Senators John McCain and Mitch McConnell’s obstructionism and pass repeal this year.
Capitol switchboard: (202) 224-3121
Calls to the following senators are particularly needed. Please call these key senators now!
–Olympia Snowe (R-ME): 202-224-5344
–Richard Lugar (R-IN): 202-224-4814
–Judd Gregg (R-NH): 202-224-3324
–Scott Brown (R-MA): 202-224-4543
–George Voinovich (R-OH): 202-224-3353
–Kit Bond (R-MO): 202-224-5721
–Lisa Murkowski (R-AK): 202-224-6665
–Mark Kirk (R-IL): 202-224-2854
–Joe Manchin (D-WV): 202-224-3954
Thank you for your calls. We are so close to repeal, and you can help us get there!
Army veteran and SLDN Executive Director
Imagine serving a tour of duty, facing active combat and the immense stress that comes with it. Then imagine returning home with your unit and having to watch as your peers enjoy the privilege of greeting their significant others upon de-boarding the plane, knowing that your partner will greet you later, in private, in order to protect your job. This was the kind of compelling scenario shared by a veteran and straight ally this past Friday at a rally held for the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell (DADT). It seems like such a simple example, but it illustrates so well how we’ve effectively denied even our most honorable Americans the kind of humanity they have earned a million times over.
The question, then, is why? Why do our elected officials continue to justify and defend oppressive policies that cause so much harm to their constituents… and get away with it? Why do our laws imply that sexuality and competency are somehow correlated? Why must we perpetuate and institutionalize a culture of fear?
It’s baffling to me that in December 2010 I am attending events like this, especially given the overwhelming support for repeal from within the military and the American public at-large. Not to mention, the substantial evidence that repeal will do nothing but benefit our troops – allowing every member to serve honestly, authentically, and with integrity. Each of our service members have taken immeasurable risks and made enormous sacrifices on our behalf; the least we can do is affirm their identities and encourage the type of pride in themselves that they exude for our country.
One of Soulforce’s core values, we believe in the fierce urgency of now, was an obvious theme of the rally on Friday. Chants of “don’t go home” were directed at the Capitol building, urging members of Congress not to leave and enjoy their holiday breaks before business is done and the repeal of DADT complete (see Jason’s post below for more on contacting your legislators).
While we heard from many inspiring speakers, it was an especially powerful lesson in hope to hear from activists who have been working on this issue for more than a decade, without succumbing to the temptation to surrender. With the holidays near and the new year quickly approaching, I find myself reflecting on all that I have to be grateful for. Topping my list is the Soulforce Equality Ride, and the perseverance of the justice seekers who’ve come before me and continue to fight. If you’re finding yourself thankful for the same, please consider giving to Soulforce to ensure proper funding for their important work and programs. Donate today!
This past Friday Soulforce helped sponsor a rally in front of the Capital in Washington DC urging our senators to delay their vacations until a repeal of the military’s discriminatory Don’t Ask Don’t Tell Policy (DADT) could be repealed. It appears now that a vote will soon come in both the house and the senate.
We urge our elected officials to take the cause of justice. We ask them to end this policy that forces people to lie in an organization where honesty and integrity are otherwise expected. We ask all of our supporters to continue calling their senators and representatives in order to let them know you support repeal of DADT.
To reach your senator’s or representative’s office
call the Capitol switchboard at
Please continue your generous support to Soulforce so that we can continue our fight for equality on this and other issues! Donate today!