Pro-Repeal Veteran Thanks Kerry for Support

Earlier this week, Senator John Kerry joined a group of 40 Senators to co-sponsor a new bill to repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”  Travis Hengen, a veteran working with us toward the repeal of DADT who was discharged under the law, thanked Senator Kerry personally at an event celebrating the Senator’s 45 years of public service.  Senator Kerry, who served two tours of duty in Vietnam before being elected to represent Massachusetts in the U.S. Senate, was one of the few Senators to stood against the flawed “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” law in 1993.

Hengen, who was discharged from the Army in 2003 for being gay after 12 years as a counterintelligence agent, said last night:

“It was great to be able to thank Senator Kerry for co-sponsoring the bill that will repeal ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.’  It makes me proud to be represented by someone with such a distinguished military background and who values the service of all the men and women in uniform.  With timing running out in the post election session of Congress, I also hope that Senator Scott Brown follows through on his commitment to repeal Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell this year.”

You can read more about the work of our team in Massachusetts here.

I hope that you will join us on Thursday in Boston as gay and straight veterans call on Senator Scott Brown to make repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” his top priority this year.  At 11am on Thursday, December 16 veterans will deliver petitions to Senator Brown’s office in Boston at the JFK Federal Building (right next to City Hall Plaza).

Human Rights Campaign | HRC Back Story

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Pro-Repeal Groups Stand Together in Illinois

The following is from HRC field organizer and military veteran Lee Reinhart:

Last week, members from Organizing for America, Equality Illinois and American Veterans for Equal Rights joined HRC in an office visit to Senator Mark Kirk here in Chicago.  We were excited to gather such a large crowd for our visit, but the size of our groups caused its own challenges.

Kirk’s office couldn’t meet with such a large crowd, so we did everything that we could to make sure that at least one representative from each group got to participate in the visit. And while Kirk’ office only answer to the question of repeal was the recent GOP letter to block any bill before tax cuts had been voted on, we made sure that we were heard clearly when it comes to repealing “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”

On a positive note,  staff members from Senator Durbin’s got word of our crowd’s visit being soured and took the time to send someone down to the lobby to talk with our group; a couple of us were even able to stop in Senator Durbin’s office as well. In the end our message was loud and clear: no matter happens, we are united to continue this fight until the end.

We must continue to show Senator Kirk that Illinois residents support repeal this year. There is so much at stake and we need your help now.  We’re calling HRC members all over the state and transferring them directly to the Senator’s office. If you live in Chicago and can help make calls, (food and drinks provided) or if you are able to join a virtual phonebank from home, please contact for details.

Human Rights Campaign | HRC Back Story

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Pro-repeal Senators say they’ve got 60 votes for DADT, including several GOPers

The lame duck session represents so many hurdles, so little time, but there is this.

Senator Joseph I. Lieberman, the Connecticut independent, said Thursday that he and other opponents of the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy on gay service members had secured the votes to authorize its repeal — provided that Senate leaders allow a free-flowing debate on the wider military policy bill that includes the repeal.

At the press conference, Lieberman mentioned GOP Senators Collins and Lugar are prepared to vote for the Defense bill. And I got a big chuckle out of this.

“The movement to end the injustice of ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ is alive and well and we are going to keep fighting — in the spirit of the American military — until we get the job done,” he said. “And we will get the job done.”

Mr. Lieberman conceded, however, that he had made no progress in persuading Mr. McCain, a close friend of his, to withdraw his opposition.

That is just too cute by half. I’d love to be a fly on the wall watching “Joementum” (snark) try to bargain with his pal “Walnuts” (no snark) to get him to come over to the side of equality.

UPDATE from Joe: Chris Johnson at the Washington Blade reports that Nevada activists have been told Senator John Ensign wants DADT repealed and is prepared to vote for cloture on the Defense bill after the Pentagon’s study is released. Via Igor Volsky, according to an Alaska reporter, that state’s newly reelected Senator, Lisa Murkowski “said that she would ‘not vote against a bill that had that repeal in it.'” Murkowski has been back and forth on this issue over the past couple days. So, this thing is fluid. It’s all about timing and process now.

The key thing to remember is this paragraph from the NY Times article, to which Tim linked:

Leaders of the new House Republican majority have indicated that repeal of “don’t ask, don’t tell” is not a priority for them, making it unlikely they would approve the bill again. That means if the repeal language is not approved by the end of this year, it will be effectively dead.


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