BREAKING: Sens Collins (R-ME) and Lieberman (I-CT) To Introduce Stand Alone DADT Repeal Bill

Below the fold, the newly issued statement from President Obama regarding today’s Senate vote on the NDAA/ DADT repeal bill.

From this Tweet came the news:


RT @JoeLieberman: @SenatorCollins and I and others are introducing a free standing bill to repeal #DADT today.

And now this press release from HRC, confirming:


On the free-standing bill:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: December 9, 2010

Last Best Chance Option Surfaces for DADT Legislative Repeal This Year

Senators Lieberman & Collins Propose Stand-Alone Repeal Measure

WASHINGTON - Today the Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender civil rights organization, praised the bipartisan proposal under the leadership of Sens. Lieberman and Collins that emerged this evening to pass repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” as a stand-alone piece of legislation.  The news comes from a bipartisan group of Senators after today’s failed vote to proceed to debate on the National Defense Authorization Act.  Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese issued the following statement:


“There has always been strong support in the Senate for repeal of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ and in recent days it’s become clear that support reaches far beyond 60 votes. The issue has been the procedure by which the defense bill would be considered and given that no agreement was in place before today’s vote on the motion to proceed, that effort was doomed to failure.

“Thankfully a bipartisan group of Senators has committed to finding an alternative method of achieving repeal.  We encourage all Senators to expeditiously take up this bill and pass it quickly so that the military has the power to implement a repeal of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.’

“The fight for open service has had many twists and turns but until ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ is left in the dustbin of history we will never give up the fight.”

The Human Rights Campaign is America’s largest civil rights organization working to achieve lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality. By inspiring and engaging all Americans, HRC strives to end discrimination against LGBT citizens and realize a nation that achieves fundamental fairness and equality for all.

# # #

This is a breaking news story and will be updated as info, links and video becomes available.  ~Louise
From the White House:

THE WHITE HOUSE

Office of the Press Secretary

_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

December 9, 2010

Statement by the President on the Senate Vote on the National Defense Authorization Act

I am extremely disappointed that yet another filibuster has prevented the Senate from moving forward with the National Defense Authorization Act.  Despite having the bipartisan support of a clear majority of Senators, a minority of Senators are standing in the way of the funding upon which our troops, veterans and military families depend. This annual bill has been enacted each of the past 48 years, and our armed forces deserve nothing less this year.

A minority of Senators were willing to block this important legislation largely because they oppose the repeal of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.’  As Commander in Chief, I have pledged to repeal this discriminatory law, a step supported by the Secretary of Defense and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and informed by a comprehensive study that shows overwhelming majorities of our armed forces are prepared to serve with Americans who are openly gay or lesbian.  A great majority of the American people agree.  This law weakens our national security, diminishes our military readiness, and violates fundamental American principles of fairness, integrity and equality.

I want to thank Majority Leader Reid, Armed Services Committee Chairman Levin, and Senators Lieberman and Collins for all the work they have done on this bill.  While today’s vote was disappointing, it must not be the end of our efforts.  I urge the Senate to revisit these important issues during the lame duck session.

###

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Pam’s House Blend – Front Page

—  admin

Because the Grinch doesn’t win: Pro-fairness Sens. push SB 4022

Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT), Sen. Mark Udall (D-CO), Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), and GOP Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) have made it official:

SENATE BILL 4022 TO REPEAL ‘DON’T ASK, DON’T TELL’ INTRODUCED [Towle]

The bill will go straight to the floor, thanks to a little known provision called Rule 14.

The moderate Republicans will go straight to “aye,” thanks to little known reasoning not to.

This policy will inevitably go to the dustbin of history, thanks to a much known ruler that measures the longterm arc rather than short-term partisan whims.

That’s the plan, at least.

***

*Call your senators (especially in key areas):

Lisa Murkowski (R-AK): 202-224-6665

George Voinovich (R-OH): 202-224-3353

Olympia Snowe (R-ME): 202-224-5344

Richard Lugar (R-IN): 202-224-4814

Judd Gregg (R-NH): 202-224-3324

Scott Brown (R-MA): 202-224-4543

Kit Bond (R-MO): 202-224-5721

Mark Kirk (R-IL): 202-224-2854

Joe Manchin (D-WV): 202-224-3954


*MORE: Call your senator now and tell them not to go home until DADT is repealed [Courage]

***

*SEE ALSO: Obama supports free-standing bill to repeal DADT [Wash Blade]




Good As You

—  admin

Portland calls on Sens. Collins and Snowe for Repeal

After a great Thanksgiving holiday with my family, I am back out on the road. Each year, I am especially thankful for all the men and women who serve in the Armed Forces to ensure my freedom. Now that I am back out, I am headed to Portland, Maine, where we are already hard at work in our efforts to repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”

Yesterday, HRC teamed up with Organizing for America and Equality Maine in beautiful Portland for a phone bank to urge Mainers to contact Senators Collins and Snowe about repealing “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” in this lame-duck session of Congress.  The law discriminates against gay, lesbian and bisexual military members, and it is long overdue for repeal. We were able to contact many constituents who agreed to call their Senators right after our conversations. Many even agreed to join us in the fight to repeal by signing up to volunteer for our next phone bank. It was great to see Mainers stay involved with the campaign after a hectic election cycle and after getting stuffed for the holiday.

Even after learning the positive results of the Pentagon’s study about open service and military readiness, we continue to put pressure on the Senate to vote for repeal. The study shows that a strong majority of our men and women in uniform and their families have no issue with gays and lesbians serving their country openly.

If you have already called, emailed or visited your Senators about repealing DADT, please do it again. We are so close to victory.  We are in a state of emergency of now and we need all hands on deck.  Contact your friends, your family, your neighbors and ask them to call their Senators and urge them to vote for repeal.  To call your Senators, call Congress at (202) 224-3121 and urge your Senators to support the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” If you’d like to volunteer with us in Maine, please contact Jessica Osborn at Jessica.osborn@hrc.org.


Human Rights Campaign | HRC Back Story

—  admin

If you were Sens. Durbin and Lieberman and planning a DADT presser, who would you invite?

Think about the cast of assertive characters at the forefront of lobbying on the Hill and working the media on DADT repeal over the last year — a long list of DADT-discharged service members, advocacy orgs Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, and Servicemembers United among the high profile outlets.

If you’re Assistant Senate Majority Leader Richard Durbin and Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee Chair Joe Lieberman and planning a presser for tomorrow, wouldn’t you want representatives from above at your side for credibility?

Apparently not. Look at the invitees for a presser tomorrow (via media advisory from Harry Reid’s office):

Thumbnail link: Parody Film Poster Of 'Mighty Joe Solmonese'

  • Joe Solmonese, President, Human Rights Campaign
  • Eric Alva, Iraq war veteran, United States Marine Corps
  • Cesar Vargas, City University of New York (CUNY) [L]aw Student who would be able to join the military under the DREAM Act

I’m sorry, but where’s Aubrey Sarvis of SLDN, for instance, who has actually served in the military and has bucked the WH and the Hill to be very outspoken on DADT repeal? Where are the vets who accompanied Lady Gaga? Hmm. Do you think tender egos related to the latter had anything to do with this?

I’m sure many little Beltway birdies will be dropping messages to me and I will have more details on this travesty tomorrow.

***

Speaking of Harry Reid’s office, all I could say about the Senate Majority Leader after reading this was “Oh, f*ck no.” (The Politico):

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid had an unusual form of praise for New York’s junior senator, Kirsten  Gillibrand, this morning at the fundraiser Mayor Bloomberg hosted for him at his townhouse – referring to her as the “hottest” member as she sat just a few feet away, according to three sources.

***

Meanwhile, check out Joe Sudbay’s latest post “Olbermann talks the hurdles facing DADT repeal with Richard Socarides“:

UPDATE @ 10:39 PM: Shortly after I wrote this post, I was informed by someone involved with this process that the White House is not lobbying fence-sitting senators to reach the magic 60 votes. Here’s what I was told:
As we all know, without a fierce effort and person-to-person advocacy from Obama himself (or at least his senior-most staff), Senators have little reason to change their minds and support debating the Defense Authorization bill. Never did I think I’d see the day when Lady Gaga would do more to advocate for repeal of DADT than our president who campaigned on equality.

It’s stunning really. And, they wonder why the base is depressed.

Pam’s House Blend – Front Page

—  John Wright

Monday: Veterans, Lady Gaga to Maine to press Sens. Snowe, Collins to break DADT filibuster

BREAKING VIA TWITTER: @ladygaga Meet me in Portland, Maine 2moro, 9/20 to help repeal #DADT. I’m holding a Rally + speaking live in Deering Oaks Park http://bit.ly/cO4cY9

– Lady Gaga to her 6.3 million followers today

And she is marshalling her forces with focus — on Maine, a state with two Republican senators — who may be convinced to vote with Dems to break any McCain filibuster on DADT repeal language in the Def Auth bill. (SLDN):

Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (SLDN), a national, legal services and policy organization dedicated to ending “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” (DADT), will be holding a grassroots rally with young people near the University of Southern Maine campus on Monday, September 20, 2010, at 4:00 p.m. ET, at Deering Oaks Park, Portland, ME, in a major Senate push to break the expected filibuster by Sen. John McCain of the National Defense Authorization Act, to which repeal is included.  The key U.S. Senate vote is scheduled for 2:15 p.m. on Tuesday.

The votes to break McCain’s filibuster are not there.  We need Sens. Snowe and Collins on board; they’re key to us breaking the filibuster,” said Aubrey Sarvis, Army veteran and executive director for Servicemembers Legal Defense Network.  ”With the vote less than 48 hours away, we need everyone supporting repeal to call the Senate.  We’re bringing gay and straight service members to Portland to help make the case.  And we’re proud to have the support of Lady Gaga to bring grassroots attention to repeal at a critical hour.  Like Lady Gaga, all New England senators, indeed all 100 senators, Democrats and Republicans, need to engage in a real debate on this issue, and not just posture and spin this week over procedure and Senate rules.”

As we saw during the VMAs, Lady Gaga attended with service members affected by DADT (photo), and SLDN director of communications, Trevor Thomas, has acknowledged that the influence of Gaga on the lobbying process has made a substantial impact, and it’s needed again to reach out to even more people in the next 48 hours. (via Kerry Eleveld):

“We know that Lady Gaga can move young people,” Thomas said, noting that she has more followers on twitter than the president (@ladygaga edges out @BarackObama by nearly a million followers). He added that SLDN had been sending action alerts to its 80,000 subscribers asking them to call their senators for the past several weeks. Short of the Gaga intervention, he said his organization would simply be sending out the same action alert on Monday that it did on Friday.

The power of celebrity combined with the reach of social networking has changed the game for activism and spreading the word on short notice. It’s a larger reach than a press release or mailing list when you’ve got a clock ticking down on a critical legislative matter like this. Lady Gaga deserves incredible kudos for harnessing the energy of young people out there to press allies — and potential allies — to act.

Note: 1,000,000+ watched Lady Gaga’s call to action online; and 237,131 people visited SLDN’s action Site as a result — 91.62% were first-time visitors.

For tomorrow’s event, follow the Twitter hashtag: #4the14k – “For the 14,000″: A Rally for the 14,000+ Discharged
Pam’s House Blend – Front Page

—  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

NY Primary Elections Tomorrow – Support Sens. That Support Us

The following is from HRC Regional Field Director Sultan Shakir:

For the past few months, I’ve been working across the state of New York, talking with our members in targeted state Senate districts about our Campaign for New York Marriage. The goals of the campaign are focused; to defeat state senators who voted against marriage and to elect candidates who support equality.

This weekend, I had the pleasure of meeting up with state Senator Toby Ann Stavisky (Queens) who was hard at work in Bay Terrace campaigning for re-election.  Stavisky, who was a co-sponsor of the marriage equality bill, is running a solid campaign for re-election.

It’s been amazing to see the growth in excitement and activism since 2007 when I worked with our members to help elect Craig Johnson on Long Island in his special election.  From that tipping-point race to tomorrow’s primary, our members have been out in force helping to elect candidates who support equality.  Thank you to all of our members who are helping to advance equality and here’s to victory!


Human Rights Campaign | HRC Back Story

—  John Wright