The following is from HRC field organizer and military veteran Lee Reinhart:
With the passage of civil unions legislation in Illinois last week, there was much to celebrate and rightly so. But here in the Land of Lincoln, we’ve quickly returned to our work generating constituent contacts with newly elected Senator Mark Kirk in support of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” repeal. Illinois voters are getting involved by making phone calls, writing letters and attending organizing meetings.
From up north in Chicago to downstate in Carbondale, from Champaign in the east to Quincy in the west, Illinoisans are making their calls to our new Senator Mark Kirk. With recent reports stating that Senator Kirk still hasn’t made a final decision on support for DADT repeal, now is not the time to let up.
This past week, I was at Elmhurst College working with members of the school’s gay-straight alliance, Straights and Gays for Equality. (SAGE) SAGE members made the call to Senator Kirk, as did local LGBT high school students who took the additional step of asking their friends and family to make the call.
I also met with members of American Veterans for Equal Rights and the Chicago chapter of Log Cabin Republicans. AVER member and retired Navy Captain Ann Bidwell, who served 27 years, not only made the phone call but also wrote a personal letter that’s ready to be hand-delivered to Senator Mark Kirk this week. Below is a small excerpt of her letter:
“Simply put, Honor, Courage and Commitment require truthfulness. DADT requires hiding, misrepresentation, and lies. For thousands of gay United States service members in uniform, this creates an untenable and unsustainable state. How can one have honor, yet be required to lie on almost a daily basis? It is exhausting.”