The following is a guest post from Elias Rojas, Board Chair for Alaskans Together for Equality:
It’s winter in Alaska and Alaskans Together for Equality Inc., Alaska’s statewide lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender organization and the Human Rights Campaign have been working hard to organize the LGBT, progressive and moderate Republican community in Alaska to secure two affirming votes from both Senator Begich and Senator Murkowski to repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” (DADT).
Last week we achieved some success! We’ve successfully convinced both Senator Murkowski and Senator Begich to vote in favor of repealing DADT. It’s a big step in the right direction but now we need to continue our work to ensure a vote on the repeal of DADT before the session ends. Though our joint efforts, we mobilized dozens of veterans to contact Sen. Murkowski and generated more than 500 phone calls and letters to the Senator asking her to support repeal.
Senator Murkowski has been fairly supportive when it has come to legislation impacting the Alaska LGBT community. She recently supported the Matthew Shepard/James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act in the Senate and just came out in favor of repealing DADT this past week. Senator Begich continues to be an unwavering ally.
We are cautiously optimistic that both our Senators will do what it takes to repeal this discriminatory law. We hope that Senator Murkowski does what she can to vote in favor of this legislation. It’s looking promising that Alaska will be able to deliver two votes for repeal.
As our organizing continues for the next couple of weeks, Alaskans Together for Equality Inc. and the Alaska LGBT community would like to thank the Human Rights Campaign for sending Tony Wagner, HRC Regional Field Director, to Alaska in early November to help kick start our lobbying efforts. He has been instrumental in providing technical assistance to help our members coordinate our statewide lobbying efforts.
Alaskans Together for Equality Inc.