Thursday DADT Repeal Open Thread: Calls to Action and Press Release

This is going to be continually updated and rough to start… much patience will be required!  

~Louise

According to the ever-wise, all-knowing and very dear friend of the Blend Joe Sudbay, Maine Senator Susan Collins and her office follow Twitter feeds VERY closely.

So we’re embarking on an impromptu campaign to wake up the Maine media, who for the most part are NOT paying attention to either DADT repeal or the key role Collins now finds herself in the process, and to flood the senator’s Twitterfeed. EqualityMaine has already started tweeting messages this morning as well, which I have shared.

@SenatorSnowe EQME tweeting- NOW to repeal DADT Sen Susan Collins (202) 224-2523 Sen Olympia Snowe (202) 224-5344 #dadt

@SenatorCollins EQME tweeting- NOW to repeal DADT Sen Susan Collins (202) 224-2523 Sen Olympia Snowe (202) 224-5344 #dadt #mepolitics

Who’s with us? Here’s what we need to do:


1. Message her @SenatorCollins or retweet.

2. Use hashtags #DADT and #mepolitics. The second not as necessary, but I know she and her staff follow both and it will then land in the feeds of mainy more Mainers, including media.

3. Follow her http://twitter.com/#!/SenatorC…

Thanks so much!

First Update (9:30am) Ex-Senator Sam Nunn now supports DADT repeal.

Seventeen years after leading the fight in Congress against gays in the military, former Democratic senator Sam Nunn says he thinks gays could serve openly without damaging the armed forces’ ability to fight.

In an interview this week, Nunn told the Associated Press that the law known as “don’t ask, don’t tell” should be overturned as long as there is enough time to prepare the troops for the change. He said the Pentagon should be given at least a year before the repeal takes effect to ensure operations in Afghanistan aren’t affected.

“Society has changed, and the military has changed,” the former senator from Georgia said.

Press releases wilol be below the fold…
Press release from IAVA


Senate Must Pass Defense Bill Supporting Troops, Military Families This Year

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Critical Provisions to Address Invisible Wounds, Military Sexual Trauma Included

NEW YORK – Today, Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA), the country’s first and largest nonprofit, nonpartisan organization for veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, called on the Senate to swiftly pass the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).  Although “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” has dominated the national discussion, and it is undoubtedly important, it is only one part of the vital Defense Bill. This broad legislation also includes provisions to expand mental health care resources, address Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) and Military Sexual Trauma (MST), extend the stop loss deadline and improve the electronic sharing of health records between the DoD and the VA.

“Most of America thinks there is an up or down vote on ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.’ Missing from the national discussion is the fact that DADT is one of dozens of important provisions included in a Defense Bill that will have a historic impact on our troops and veterans. While the country is fighting two wars, passing funding for our troops  should be a no-brainer. We cannot allow personal politics to get in the way of supporting our service members. If Congress fails to pass the Defense Bill, it will be the first time in 48 years. That’s not a precedent this Administration or Congress wants to set,” said IAVA Founder and Executive Director Paul Rieckhoff.  

“Our troops can’t afford to wait until next year for vital Pentagon funding. One in three troops are coming home today with invisible wounds like Traumatic Brain Injury, one in seven female veterans are screening positive for Military Sexual Trauma and thousands of service members are losing their medical records as they transition from the DoD to the VA health care systems. IAVA urges the Senate to pass this critical legislation this year and ensure our troops aren’t left waiting for live saving resources.”

In addition to a provision for the repeal of the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy (see IAVA’s full statement supporting repeal here ), key provisions contained in the NDAA address the following urgent issues:

?    Expanding the number of DoD mental health providers. There is a chronic shortage of mental health providers in the military. With rates of mental health injuries and suicide rising higher every month, the DoD is in desperate need of providers to help service members identify and combat invisible wounds. This bill provides education incentives to recruit both civilian and military mental health care providers. (Senate ?703)

?    Mandatory pre- and post-deployment TBI assessments. Although TBI is the signature wound of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the DoD has never adequately developed a comprehensive screening program.  NDAA will require the DoD to do pre-deployment assessments to compare to post-deployment assessments after a potential injury. (House ?722)

?    Eradicating Military Sexual Trauma. NDAA contains 29 recommendations of the Joint Task Force on Sexual Assault in the Military, including modernizing the Uniform Code of Military Justice and the creation of a sexual assault reporting hot line.  (House ?1601-1664)

?    DoD/VA record sharing.  In 2009, the DoD and VA began to work on a joint electronic lifetime record that follows a service member from enlistment to the grave.  There have been concerns that the record sharing between the DoD and VA could violate the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).  NDAA would change HIPAA to allow records to migrate between the DoD and the VA. (Senate ?715, House ?532)

?    Military pay raise and bonuses. NDAA provides a 1.9% pay increase for all service members and the extension of a host of recruitment and retention bonuses set to expire. (House ?601)

Because of these provisions and a number of others, passage of the NDAA this year is broadly supported. IAVA is a member of The Military Coalition (TMC), a consortium of 32 nationally prominent military and veterans organizations representing more than 5.5 million current and former service members, their families and survivors. The TMC recently urged the passage of NDAA in a letter to Senator Reid and Senator McConnell here .

Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America www.IAVA.org is the country’s first and largest nonprofit, nonpartisan organization for veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and has more than 200,000 Member Veterans and civilian supporters nationwide. Its mission is to improve the lives of this country’s newest generation of veterans and their families.

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Take Action: Tell the President that he needs to literally call Senators about DADT

It’s been a busy day. The President hosted at meeting with the leaders of Congress to talk about priorities for the lame duck session. Doesn’t sound like they gave much thought to the Defense bill, which includes the DADT language. Also, today, as you know, the Pentagon released its long awaited report on DADT.

We need the direct involvement of the President if we’re going to pass the DADT language this year, as promised. A short time ago, the White House issued a statement from the President on the DADT report, which included this line:

Today I call on the Senate to act as soon as possible so I can sign this repeal into law this year and ensure that Americans who are willing to risk their lives for their country are treated fairly and equally.

We need more than a statement on paper from the President. Here’s an idea: The President could start calling Senators to make sure he can sign the law this year. And, how about standing in front of t.v. cameras and using the bully pulpit to call for repeal. Put some skin in the game, Mr. President. You promised.

We sent out the following appeal to our AMERICAblog list. We’re still asking the President to start calling Senators directly. That will have more impact than a White House statement:

BREAKING NEWS: The Pentagon’s study on repealing “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” was just released, and it is better than our wildest dreams. The study concluded that repeal would have a “low risk” to the military’s mission capability.

With congressional debate beginning as early as Monday, the calendar is our biggest obstacle — there is no time to lose. Defense Secretary Gates and Admiral Mullen have already said they’ll be talking to the Senate about the report. The grassroots will be doing our part. But the White House is still on record saying the President’s made no calls to Congress on this issue!

Join thousands in telling President Obama to start calling senators in support of repealing DADT now. Click here.

Add your name to our open letter, and we’ll personally deliver it to the White House for you. Then share this email with others.

More results from the study:

* 70% of servicemembers believe repeal would have little or no effect on their units
* 92% of respondents had a positive or neutral experience with a gay servicemember
* 74% of military spouses are not concerned about repeal
* Secretary of Defense Gates strongly urges that the Senate repeal DADT based on the findings of this report

We can not afford for the President to be MIA on this issue yet again. We need his fierce advocacy right now.

Click here to join over 2,500 people in telling President Obama to put some skin in the game and call Senators in support of repealing Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell — now.

The stakes are high. Thanks for joining us in this fight.

Obama can call on the Senate to act — and call Senators to make sure they do.

More and more people are signing the letter. We’ve passed our initial goal of 2,500 signatures and have doubled it to 5,000. The President just told us how important the Senate is. Let’s make sure he’s doing his part.

And, everyone should call their own Senators today or tomorrow. The switchboard at the Capitol is: 202-224-3121.




AMERICAblog Gay

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(Take Action) Tell President Obama: We need fierce advocacy on DADT now

This morning, President Obama is meeting with Secretary of Defense Robert Gates. Hopefully, they’ll be discussing a strategy to secure passage of the Defense bill, which includes the DADT language.

If you had a chance to watch the video of the panel on DADT in the post below, you know that one of our biggest obstacles to success is the calendar. Time is running out. The President needs to step up if we’re going to pass the DADT language this year, as promised. Today, we’ve launched a sign on letter urging President Obama to fully engage in this process — we’ll be delivering the letter to the White House on your behalf. We’ve sent this email to our AMERICAblog list, and hope you’ll join us in signing it:

White House spokesman Robert Gibbs recently told reporters that President Obama hasn’t made any calls to wavering senators in support of repealing Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell — which will soon be voted on in the Senate. What’s he waiting for?

At a recent meeting between President Obama and progressive bloggers, Joe Sudbay personally told the president about our widespread disappointment over his failure to fulfill his campaign promises, including repeal of DADT.

Today, we’re asking you to help us show that this sentiment is real by joining our open letter that we’ll personally deliver to the White House.

Click here to join us in telling President Obama to put some skin in the game and call senators in support of repealing Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell — now.

In September, when John McCain was leading the filibuster against the Defense Authorization bill, which includes the DADT language, President Obama didn’t make one phone call to Capitol Hill. But he did find time that day to call the WNBA champs.

With the Defense bill being brought up again in the next few weeks, we need President Obama’s leadership once again — this is not the time for him to be MIA. He promised to be our fierce advocate. Let’s tell him: We need his fierce advocacy now on this issue.

If we don’t repeal Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell now, we all lose. It would be a “political disaster” for President Obama, according to The Hill newspaper. LGBT voters know that it could be years before we get another chance at passing anything pro-gay at the federal level. And Democrats learned this past November what happens when they leave their base disillusioned. None of us can afford to miss this window of opportunity.

So please join us in telling President Obama to start calling senators now in support of repealing Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. Click here — then, share with friends.

The stakes are high. Thanks for joining us in this fight.

We want to help prevent this political disaster, which will be a loss for our servicemembers, our national security, the President and our country.

Add your voice to the letter. Sign here.




AMERICAblog Gay

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Action on Civil Unions in Illinois

While HRC field organizers are on the ground in Illinois ramping up the pressure on newly elected Sen. Mark Kirk to repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”, HRC interns and volunteers were busy making hundreds of phone calls and mobilizing our members in key state house districts to contact their legislators to pass the Illinois Religious Freedom Protection and Civil Union Act (SB 1716).

This legislation, which we have been working closely on with openly gay state Representative Greg Harris, would provide all the same rights and responsibilities given to married couples to same or opposite-sex couples who entered into a legal civil union in the state.  With the vast majority of the people of Illinois supporting this measure, we need to send a clear message to the legislature – the time is now to treat all families in Illinois with the same dignity and respect.

The bill has a good chance of passing before the end of the year, but we need make sure undecided legislators hear from their constituents.  To look up and contact your state representative, just click here. Once you have your state representative’s phone number, give them a call and give the office staff your name, address and tell them you want your representative to vote for SB 1716, the Illinois Religious Freedom Protection and Civil Union Act.  It’s that simple!


Human Rights Campaign | HRC Back Story

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Call Your Senators to Urge DADT Action

CALL YOUR SENATORS NOW
Dial (202) 224-3121
Tell them to do everything they can to repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” this year.

The time is now.

“Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” may be in its final moments. Years of work could boil down to what happens in the coming weeks. The Senate’s “lame duck” session began this week – our last, best hope to end the discrimination this year.

We here at HRC are putting all of our efforts into what could be the final push for repeal; This week we placed ads in major newspapers in key states asking everyone to call their senator and sound off on passing repeal this year; Yesterday we sent an action alert to our membership letting them know how important it is to contact senators this week, and organizers are deployed across the country rallying support to let the Senate know that the Americans want the discriminatory “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” law repealed.

We can’t do it by ourselves. We need every one of you to pick up the phone and call your senators’ offices today. Call your senators and let them know to pass the National Defense Authorization Act  with the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” attached. In addition to repeal, this bill contains funding for equipment that our troops need and benefits that service members and veterans deserve.

Senators need to be pushed by their constituents now, because there is little time to be wasted. With just a few weeks left on Congress’ calendar, every seconds that we delay is a moment lost. Dial (202) 224-3121 to call the congressional switch board. Tell them where you are from and ask them to connect you to the office of your senator.

You shouldn’t stop there. Tell your parents, your siblings, your friends and your coworkers; Let Facebook know, let Twitter know. We need all hands on deck. Every call that you make could push us closer to making repeal a reality.

Obstructionists like Senator John McCain want to do everything they can to run out the clock until the next Congress, when even fewer pro-equality lawmakers are around to cast their vote. We have got to do everything that we can to make sure that he is not successful.

Together we push senators to strengthen our military, while honoring the service and sacrifice of all of our service members. Call now.


Human Rights Campaign | HRC Back Story

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Veterans Day Reflections and a Call To Action

Today is never easy for me. On the day when we are supposed to honor our veterans, those still with us and those who have gone before, my head is always filled with memories. For over ten years I was part of a family that only 5% of Americans ever know. Sometimes I miss it – the uniform, the unique family dynamic, the sense of mission. I wish I could go back to that. Then I think about how soul-crushingly hard it was, what I endured, both as a servicewoman and later as a silent partner. I think about what it is to live as a lesbian veteran with a disability. Then I take a deep breath, let it out, and try to let the memories, the anger and bitterness, go with it.

Today is a day to honor all our servicemembers. As we here in the LGBT community know, not all of our servicemembers or their families will be honored today. Many are still serving in silence and fear, toiling under the burden of lies and bigotry that is “Don't Ask, Don't Tell.” Those of us who are now out and can speak of it are often erased, invalidated, our stories smothered because the Powers That Be don't want us to be heard. This is especially true for women and minority LGB veterans. 

Rep. Patrick Murphy has been our staunchest ally in Congress for lifting the ban on honest service by LGB troops. In collaboration with Courage Campaign, he is collecting signatures of Americans who want to see the Senate vote for the NDAA bill with the DADT repeal amendment intact. I'm asking that each and every one of you, if you haven't already, sign the appropriate petition, and then pick up the phone and call the offices of your Senators, and Sens. Carl Levin and Harry Reid. Tell them to honor the service of ALL troops, and bring the full NDAA bill to the floor for a vote. Call the White House and tell them there that the Commander-in-Chief has to get off his chair and lead.

See below the fold for Rep. Murphy's message, links to the petitions, and phone numbers.

Blessed Remembrance Day/Veterans Day/Armistice Day to all.

 


After September 11, I volunteered to fight for my country. I became a Captain in the U.S. Army and was awarded a Bronze Star while serving in Iraq. While in Baghdad, I counseled many active-duty servicemembers who came to me with tortured souls, concerned that their sexual orientation might end their military careers, as a result of the military's discriminatory “Don't Ask, Don't Tell” policy.

One particular soldier's internal conflict was profound. I can still remember his pained and heartbreaking questions. Should he lie? Should he tell the truth and then be kicked out of the Army? What would he do if he was wounded and couldn't tell the person he loved?

When I ran for public office in 2006, I became the first Iraq war veteran to be elected to Congress. Unfortunately, my time in the House of Representatives will be coming to an end soon — but I still have some unfinished business. Last May, I promised those young men and women whom I counseled that I would do everything in my power to put an end to DADT so they could serve their country openly and proudly.

That's why I led the fight in the House to repeal “Don't Ask, Don't Tell,” passing historic legislation in May that is now in limbo in the Senate. With Veterans Day coming up on Thursday and only a few weeks left until the Senate's lame-duck session ends, the clock is running out on repeal — perhaps for years to come.

Now I'm asking you to help me finish the job. With the lame-duck session starting Monday, I need you to sign the Courage Campaign's petition to Senators Reid, Levin, McConnell and McCain immediately. Once the U.S. Senate is back in session, I'll deliver your signature — and nearly 600,000 other signatures collected by Courage supporting repeal of “Don't Ask, Don't Tell.”

To amplify the voices of those most impacted by this policy, we're looking for veterans — and their friends, family and neighbors — to take action before Veterans Day. Whether you are a veteran, or just want to sign on in support, please click one of the following two links:

OPTION 1: Are you a military veteran, a member of a military family, or do you know a veteran? CLICK HERE TO SIGN.

OPTION 2: If you are NOT a veteran, CLICK HERE TO SIGN.

Even though a CNN poll showed that 78% of Americans think the ban should end and even though the Secretary of Defense and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs have said it should end, John McCain and others still think this is a political issue.

It's not a political issue. It's a matter of national security. It's a matter of integrity. It's a matter of honor.

We've worked hard over the last two years to end this discriminatory policy. Let's get the job done.

Representative Patrick Murphy

Phone numbers to the offices of the Senators who need a push (202 area codes are the Washington, D.C. offices; the Senators will be back there Monday):

MARK PRYOR
D – ARKANSAS
202-224-2353
501-324-6336
The River Market, 500 Clinton Ave Ste 401, Little Rock, AR 72201

BLANCHE LINCOLN
D – ARKANSAS
202-224-4843
912 West Fourth Street, Little Rock, AR 72201
 
EVAN BAYH
D – INDIANA
202-224-5623
317-554-0750
1650 Market Tower, 10 West Market St., Indianapolis, IN 46204

SUSAN COLLINS
MAINE
202-224-2523
207-622-8414
One Canal Plaza, Suite 802, Portland, ME 04101

OLYMPIA SNOWE
R – MAINE
202-224-5344 
207-786-2451
3 Canal Plaza, Suite 601, Portland, ME 04101

SCOTT BROWN
R – MASSACHUSETTS
202-224-4543

617-565-3170
2400 JFK Federal Building, 55 New Sudbury Street, Boston, MA 02203

GEORGE VOINOVICH
OHIO
202-224-3353
216-522-7095, 513-684-3265, 419-259-3895
1240 East 9th Street, Room 3061, Cleveland, OH 44199

LISA MURKOWSKI
ALASKA
202-224-6665

907-456-0233, 907-271-3735
101 12th Ave, Room 216, Fairbanks, AK 99701

DICK LUGAR
INDIANA
202-224-4814

812-465-6313 317-226-5555
180 Market Tower, 10 West Market St., Indianapolis, Indiana 46204

JIM WEBB
VIRGINIA
202-224-4024
804-771-2221 276-679-4925 757-518-1674 540-772-4236
507 East Franklin Street, Richmond, VA 23219

KIT BOND
MISSOURI
202-224-5721
816-471-7141 314-725-4484
7700 Bonhomme, #615 St. Louis, MO 63105  

MARK KIRK
ILLINOIS
202-225-4835 (Congressional office)
847-940-0202 (local Congressional office)
707 Skokie Boulevard, Suite 350, Northbrook, IL 60062

JUDD GREGG
NEW HAMPSHIRE
202-224-3324
603-225-7115, 603-622-7979
125 North Main Street, Concord, NH 03301

JOE MANCHIN
WEST VIRGINIA
1-888-438-2731 (governor's line)
304-205-5889 (senate campaign office phone)

LINDSAY GRAHAM
SOUTH CAROLINA
202-224-5972
803-933-0112 864-250-1417 803-366-2828
508 Hampton Street, Suite 202, Columbia, SC

HARRY REID
NEVADA
202-224-3542
702-388-5020 775-882-7343 775-686-5750
Lloyd D. George Bldg., 333 Las Vegas Blvd S, Suite 8016 Las Vegas, NV 89101

CARL LEVIN
MICHIGAN
202-224-6221
517-377-1508 313-226-6020
124 West Allegan, Suite 1810, Lansing, MI

 

Call the White House at 202-456-1111. Let the Commander-in-Chief know that he isn't off the hook.

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Service Women’s Action Network to Dan Choi: Your Comments Were Unacceptable

Service Women's Action Network (SWAN) is an advocacy organization for female troops and veterans. They provide input to policymakers regarding the unique problems women troops and veterans face, particularly Military Sexual Trauma and the disporportionate targeting of women, especially minority women, for harassment, investigation, and discharge under Don't Ask, Don't Tell. They are a resource for female veterans in transition, assisting with job training and benefits counseling. Their job is to help women overcome the problems created by multiple deployments, service-connected PTSD and disabilities, and institutionalized sexism in the military.

SWAN, along with other women's and LGBT advocacy orgs, has released the following open letter to Dan Choi regarding his comments about Harry Reid being a “pussy…[who] bleeds once a month.”

November 2nd, 2010

CONTACT:  Anu Bhagwati, Executive Director

Service Women's Action Network

212-683-0015, ext 324 or info@servicewomen.org

AN OPEN LETTER TO DAN CHOI

Dear Dan,

The Service Women's Action Network (SWAN) and the undersigned advocacy organizations were shocked and extremely disappointed by your comments about women in your recent interview in the Village Voice. You should know as we do that there is no room for misogyny, racism or other forms of hate speech among people who are working to end discrimination and bring about equality in the military, and throughout society.

Your comments about women are irresponsible, indefensible and inexcusable, and you should publicly acknowledge that fact.  As a human rights advocate, you should know that degrading one group of people to promote the rights of another disserves everyone.  Your sexist comments also undermine SWAN's efforts to achieve our policy objectives, which include promoting equality for all servicemembers.

As an organization that advocates for equal opportunity for all servicemembers and veterans, SWAN is keenly aware that there is still a tremendous amount of misogyny both within the military and the LGBTQ community, and that misogynistic and homophobic language is rampant in the military.  Comments denigrating women's bodies, or suggesting that simply being a woman is abhorrent, are unacceptable. Unfortunately, this type of language is all too familiar to women in the military.

As a direct result of misogynistic language, a hostile work environment for servicewomen–both heterosexual and lesbian–is allowed to thrive. Hate crimes, sexual harassment, lesbian-baiting, gay-bashing and sexual assault have flourished. Adopting and promulgating hate-filled speech against women only serves to increase the danger that servicewomen and LGBTQ servicemembers face on a daily basis.

We must hold you accountable for what you say as a spokesperson for equality. We encourage you to render a genuine apology, rather than a half-hearted, perfunctory tweet on Twitter. We also encourage you to discuss this issue with us further. It is part of our mission to educate the public about the serious challenges facing military women and women veterans, and we'd be more than happy to assist you in deepening your understanding of these issues.

Service Women's Action Network

Military Rape Crisis Center

MilitarySexualTrauma.org

National Center for Lesbian Rights

National Council of Women’s Organizations

National Gay and Lesbian Task Force

National Organization for Women

Servicemembers Legal Defense Network

UNID@S

VetWow

Women’s Research & Education Institute

The Service Women's Action Network (SWAN) supports, defends, and empowers today's servicewomen and women veterans of all eras, through groundbreaking advocacy initiatives and innovative, healing community programs. www.servicewomen.org

As a woman, as a veteran, and as someone who fights for the rights of women, I support SWAN's statement and reiterate the call for dialogue within our movement to help erase misogyny in both the military ranks and civilian society. This problem will not go away until those who perpetuate it, in ways large and small, own up to it, and are willing to work to overcome it.

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President at today’s presser – DADT legislative action ‘potentially during the lame duck session’

Don’t hold your breath on that one. Haven’t we been led down paths that lead to a steep drop off of a cliff for the last two years? Today the President held a news conference, mostly to address questions in the aftermath of the Dem disaster at the polls last night.

There was one question asked by CNN’s Ed Henry about DADT repeal that generated more smoke and mirrors from President Obama — and notice he didn’t address the loaded issue in the last sentence of Henry’s question.

Ed Henry: Just on a policy front, “don’t ask, don’t tell” is something that you promised to end. And when you had 60 votes and 59 votes in the Senate — it’s a tough issue — you haven’t been able to do it. Do you now have to tell your liberal base that with maybe 52 or 53 votes in the Senate, you’re just not going to be able to get it done in the next two years?

THE PRESIDENT: Well, let me take the second issue first. I’ve been a strong believer in the notion that if somebody is willing to serve in our military, in uniform, putting their lives on the line for our security, that they should not be prevented from doing so because of their sexual orientation. And since there’s been a lot of discussion about polls over the last 48 hours, I think it’s worth noting that the overwhelming majority of Americans feel the same way. It’s the right thing to do.

Now, as Commander-in-Chief, I’ve said that making this change needs to be done in an orderly fashion. I’ve worked with the Pentagon, worked with Secretary Gates, worked with Admiral Mullen to make sure that we are looking at this in a systemic way that maintains good order and discipline, but that we need to change this policy.

There’s going to be a review that comes out at the beginning of the month that will have surveyed attitudes and opinions within the armed forces. I will expect that Secretary of Defense Gates and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mullen will have something to say about that review. I will look at it very carefully. But that will give us time to act in — potentially during the lame duck session to change this policy.

Keep in mind we’ve got a bunch of court cases that are out there as well. And something that would be very disruptive to good order and discipline and unit cohesion is if we’ve got this issue bouncing around in the courts, as it already has over the last several weeks, where the Pentagon and the chain of command doesn’t know at any given time what rules they’re working under.

We need to provide certainty and it’s time for us to move this policy forward. And this should not be a partisan issue. This is an issue, as I said, where you’ve got a sizable portion of the American people squarely behind the notion that folks who are willing to serve on our behalf should be treated fairly and equally.

Yes, well potentially, I could win the lottery, but the above statement is practically meaningless. It would have been enlightening to hear President Obama address the demoralized base, particularly those LGBTs who advocated for action in the first two years, knowing that midterms would suck all the air out of “change.” But of course, those who “knew better” kept telling us that…

It’s only been ____ months since he’s been in office; he has a lot on his plate.

It was the excuse to give him a pass. And when it dragged on and the warning signs were there that nothing would be done in 2010 because of WH fear about its political miscalculations, and worse, that it relied on HRC (which was banking on a Hillary win, for good or ill) as the main representative of “the LGBT community.” And this administration’s fumbling communications style (as in none, or dodging), has made it clear it was getting bad advice.

Anyway, today’s presser just sounds like more of the same. I don’t think the ass-kicking last night has changed things one iota for the relationship between the LGBT community and this administration. It remains to be seen whether the WH feels it has any justification for coming to the LGBT community for $upport for 2012.

***

Reaction from SLDN:

Statement from Army veteran and SLDN Executive Director Aubrey Sarvis:

“When asked about ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ today,  the President was right to focus on the lame duck session in the Senate as the best place to get repeal this year. If the President, Senator Majority Leader Reid, and Secretary Gates are aligned and determined to see the defense bill move this year the chances are good repeal can still happen, but they will need several Republican senators to join them. Clearly a bipartisan vote will be needed to take up the bill in the Senate and to ensure final passage this year.”

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President Obama Calls for Lame Duck Action on DADT Repeal

Today at a White House press conference, President Barack Obama reiterated his call for repeal of the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” law that has harmed our national security and discriminates against men and women who want to serve their country.  The President specifically signaled his desire for the Senate to act on repeal in the upcoming lame duck session.  Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese issued the following statement:

“The President’s call for repeal today is a first step of many needed to fulfill his state of the union promise to end the law that harms our national security.  We urge the Senate to heed the President’s call for action in the post-election session and look forward to his continued leadership in seeing this through.  As he articulated, the legal challenges and political posturing have created confusion and now is the time to wipe this stain of discrimination from the books.  It would be a travesty for a small group of Senators to continue to hold hostage a bill with critical military equipment and pay raises just because they don’t want to debate repeal.”


Human Rights Campaign | HRC Back Story

—  admin

TAKE ACTION: Mormon Leader Chooses Homophobia When Compassion is Needed

Many of us are familiar with the struggle that so many lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender teens face. Anti-LGBT bullying in schools is out of control and has led to a number of recent teen suicides.

Yet a top Mormon Church apostle has chosen this precise moment to broadcast a message of intolerance to millions.

Boyd K. Packer, the second-highest Mormon leader, said same-sex attraction is “impure and unnatural” and can be overcome, and that same-sex unions are morally wrong and “against God’s law and nature.”

Please add your name to our open letter showing the Mormon Church hierarchy that it has risked further alienating vulnerable LGBT youth with potentially devastating consequences – and after you sign the letter, please post it on Facebook and share it with your friends so people everywhere know that these views are scientifically wrong and misguided.

Never was there a time where compassion was needed more, but instead Mr. Packer chose to use his twice-a-year address to spew anti-LGBT remarks.  The kids deserve better.

View the email and add your name to the petition here.


Human Rights Campaign | HRC Back Story

—  John Wright