Senator Webb gets a visit from DADT repeal activists and discharged service members

Posted on 17 Sep 2010 at 8:44pm

(Sorry I was slow getting this up; this mini-flu bug had me flat out most of the week)

During his 2006 campaign for the United States Senate, Senator Jim Webb wore his son Jimmy’s old pair of combat boots on the campaign trail every day. Senator Webb said he wore the boots in tribue to his son, Jimmy, and in tribute of “all the people sent into harm’s way”.

And that set the stage for today’s protest by GetEQUAL, The Sanctuary Project and H.E.R.O. to point out that the Senator needs to support repeal of DADT. (GetEqual):

“Senator Webb wore combat boots on the campaign trail every day in 2006 for, as the Senator said, ALL servicemembers serving their country. We are here today to remind Senator Webb that all servicemembers includes the thousands of gay and lesbian servicemembers sacrificing their safety and security by serving honorably in our country’s armed forces,” said Robin McGehee, co-founder and director of GetEQUAL. “We honor Senator Webb’s direct action in 2006, to show his deep committment and passion for his son and others defending our country. We have organized this action in solidarity with that vision, because we want the Senator to truly honor the service of gay and lesbian servicemembers by fully supporting the passage of the Defenese Authorization Act next week, which contains language to further the repeal of ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’.”

“As a Semper Fi, former Marine, I’m here today to tell Senator Webb that these combat boots I’ve worn in service to our country look just like his sons and everyone else’s combat boots serving in the United States Armed Forces,” said Cpl. Evelyn Thomas, a veteran of the United States Marine Corps. “In the line of duty, there are not differences because we are all Americans and we are all putting our lives on the line in service to our country. Senator Webb, your service to this country is appreciated and honored. Next week, you have an opportunity to show me and my brothers and sisters that our service is equally appreciated and honored by you.”

“Jim Webb is Senator Jim Webb because of the gay and lesbian support he received during his 2006 campaign,” said Jimmy Gruender, co-chair of H.E.R.O. “Because of our community’s work to put him into office and the calls and stories we here every day about how this law has affected gay and lesbian servicmembers, many from Senator Webb’s own home state of Virginia, prompted us to do this action today. Senator Webb, the LGBT community stood by you when you needed us. Now, we expect you to stand by us when we need you!”

A November 17th, 2006 article in the Advocate stated, “The effort to defeat Virginia’s proposed constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage apparently pulled thousands of progressive voters out to the polls, sending Democrat James Webb to the U.S. Senate by the thinnest of margins and handing the upper chamber to the Democrats for the next two years.”

Those servicemembers and advocates taking part in today’s action are:

Veteran Cpl. Evelyn Thomas, United States Marine Corps

Veteran Capt. James Pietrangelo II, United States Army

Veteran Sn. Jose A. Rodriguez, United States Navy

Veteran Lt. Dan Choi, United States Army

Linda Sanders, Sanctuary Project Veterans

Michael Dixon, GetEQUAL

Heather Cronk, GetEQUAL

Melissa Halverson, H.E.R.O.

Paul Roark, H.E.R.O.

Erica Keppler, H.E.R.O.

Marilee Cornelius, H.E.R.O.

Jonathan Harris, H.E.R.O.

Mandee Rowley, H.E.R.O.

Meg Sneed, H.E.R.O.

James Gruender, H.E.R.O.

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