North Texas’ Danny Hernandez now opening for Lady Gaga on ‘don’t ask don’t tell’ speaking tour

We’ve told you about Marine Cpl. Danny Hernandez, the North Texas native and Texas A&M University graduate who was discharged from the Marines under “don’t ask don’t tell” after being outed by a fellow Marine.

Hernandez, who’s from a small town northwest of Fort Worth, is now working with Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, and he spoke at the rally Monday in Portland, Maine, where Lady Gaga would later deliver her “Prime Rib of America Address.” Watch video of Hernandez’s remarks at the rally here.

Hernandez was also interviewed by MTV for a story about the rally yesterday. Video from the MTV interview is above.

Hernandez told MTV that he was initially skeptical about Lady Gaga’s advocacy for DADT repeal, until he got a chance to meet her and tell her his story.

“It was then that I realized she’s serious about making this an issue that people learn about,” Hernandez says. “People were not that aware about ‘don’t ask don’t tell.’ There was a group of people that thought it was repealed already. … She definitely brought light to an issue that many people had no idea was still going on in this county, and so I think a lot of that support has come form the Little Monsters that are so adamant about supporting Lady Gaga. If it’s something she supports, then of course they’re going to support her 100 percent behind that as well.”

And on that note, here’s the latest advisory from SLDN that hit our Inbox at 9 a.m. Dallas time Tuesday:

The final hour has arrived. Today at 2:15 PM ET, the full Senate will determine whether “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” (DADT) repeal will move forward this year. For repeal to happen, we need 60 votes to break Senator John McCain (R-AZ)’s expected filibuster. All supporters must call their senators now.

Call both your senators at the Capitol switchboard right now and urge them to vote to end the filibuster and move on to a real debate on the Defense bill.

(202) 224-3121

These senators are currently uncommitted on breaking the filibuster and particularly need to hear from us today:

–Susan Collins (R-ME);
–Olympia Snowe (R-ME);
–Mark Pryor (D-AR);
–Richard Lugar (R-IN);
–Judd Gregg (R-NH);
–Jim Webb (D-VA);
–George Voinovich (R-OH);
–Kit Bond (R-MO)

Don’t let opponents of open service hold up critical funding for our troops and prospects for repeal. Supporters of open service must make their voices heard today. If you have already called your senators, call both of them again.

Call the Capitol switchboard and tell both your senators to follow the lead of Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin (D-MI) to stop the filibuster and begin debating passage of the Defense bill.

(202) 224-3121
Speak up for all our service members today and spread the word to your friends: www.sldn.org/gaga
We are almost out of time to contact senators before the vote today. We must call now.

Thank you.

Aubrey Sarvis
SLDN Executive Director

—  John Wright

WATCH: A new message from Lady Gaga to the U.S. Senate on ‘don’t ask don’t tell’

The video was apparently recorded Thursday night and posted early Friday morning on Lady Gaga’s official YouTube channel. Looks like she may have sent out this Tweet while recording the video:

Gaga addresses her 7 ½-minute video message to her fellow Americans, to the Senate and specifically to Republican Sens. John McCain of Arizona, Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, James Inhofe of Oklahoma and Jeff Sessions of Alabama. She notes that 14,000 servicemembers have been discharged under DADT since it was passed in 1993.

“In short, not only is the law unconstitutional, but it’s not even being properly or fairly enforced by the government,” Gaga says. “Our fight is a continuum of the ever-present equal rights movement. Every day we fight to abolish laws that harbor hatred and discriminate against all people, laws that infringe on our civil liberties.

“I am here to be a voice for my generation, not the generation of the senators who are voting, but for the youth of this country, the generation that is affected by this law and whose children will be affected,” Gaga says. “We are not asking you to agree with or approve the moral implications of homosexuality. We’re asking you to do your job, to protect the Constitution. As Majority Leader Harry Reid said, anyone who is willing to fight for this country should have the same civil opportunity to do so as anyone else. It’s my belief that no one person is more valuable than another.”

Gaga goes on to talk about some of the veterans discharged under DADT she’s met through the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network.

“The most shocking discovery for me was to hear them all say how much they miss serving and protecting our nation, how they joined the Armed Forces because they believe in America,” Gaga says. “Senators, when you’re sending your men and women into war, when you’re sending our wives, husbands, sons and daughters into combat, will you honor their service? Will you support repealing this law on Tuesday and pledge to them that no American’s life is more valuable than another?”

At the end of the video Gaga calls the Capitol Switchboard and asks for the office of Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-New York. After a dozen or so rings, she gets a busy signal. Then she tries Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-New York, whose voice mailbox is full.

“I will not stop calling until I reach them and I can leave them this message,” Gaga says. “I am a constituent of the senator. My name is Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta, also known as Lady Gaga. I’m calling to ask the senator to vote with Sens. Harry Reid and Carl Levin to repeal ‘don’t ask don’t tell’ and oppose John McCain’s shameless filibuster. We need to do this for our gay and lesbian soldiers and finally repeal ‘don’t ask don’t tell.’

“Try calling after 9 a.m. tomorrow morning,” Gaga says. “I’ll be on the phone, too. Thank you. God bless.”

The number for the Capitol switchb0ard is 202-224-3121.

—  John Wright

UPDATED: ‘Crunch time’ on DADT; Defense bill now set for vote on Tuesday afternoon

UPDATE: The Washington Post is reporting that the Defense appropriations bill, which includes the amendment to repeal “don’t ask don’t tell,” is set for a vote next Tuesday afternoon, Sept. 21. MetroWeekly reports that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid filed for cloture Friday on the Defense bill, and the Senate will vote on whether to proceed with debate at 2:15 p.m. EST on Tuesday. If there are 60 votes to proceed, debate will begin. The debate could include amendments to strike or modify the DADT repeal provision.

ORIGINAL POST:

“It’s crunch time,” according to Joe Solmonese, president of the Human Rights Campaign.

Both HRC and the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network issued action alerts Thursday pleading with people to call and/or e-mail their senators and tell them to support a repeal of “don’t ask don’t tell,” which is expected to be voted on by the Senate next week.

It makes no difference that Texas Republican Sens. Kay Bailey Hutchison and John Cornyn are unlikely to support DADT repeal, the groups say.

“This is a 100-senator strategy, and we need your help to make it work,” Solmonese wrote.

SLDN is urging poeple to call the Capitol Switchboard at 202-224-3121. The line is open 24 hours a day. Ask for your senator’s office, then say the following:

Tell your senators to vote with Sen. Reid and Sen. Carl Levin in opposing a filibuster, or any amendment to strike “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” repeal from the larger defense bill.
• Tell your senators that it is critical they vote and finish the Defense bill before they leave for the election recess.

You can also call Hutchison’s Dallas office at 214-361-3500 and Cornyn’s Dallas office at 972-239-1310. HRC has posted a form for e-mailing senators.

—  John Wright