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GetEQUAL, Missouri Advocates Launch National Campaign Demanding Rep. Ike Skelton (D-MO) Apologize for Homophobic “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” Remarks PDF Print E-mail
Jun 14, 2010 at 10:47 AM

U.S. House Armed Services Chairman has Until End of Day to Publicly Apologize or Face Further Actions by a Growing Number of National and local, Missouri Advocates and Veterans

WASHINGTON – Today, GetEQUAL -- a direct action lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) civil rights organization -- and local Missouri LGBT rights organizations announced the launch of a national campaign (www.getequal.org/missouri.php) demanding Representative Ike Skelton (D-MO) apologize for the homophobic remarks he made last week when speaking about the military’s discriminatory “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” law and immediately stop his effort to undercut the repeal of "Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”  Additionally, GetEQUAL announced that the group is prepared to turn up the heat with additional actions later this week, unless the Missouri Congressman publicly apologizes today for remarks reiterating his opposition to the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” citing a fear of a “national discussion around homosexuality,” and the posing of an incredibly offensive, homophobic question asking, “What do mommies and daddies say to their 7-year-old child?” -- referring to his own outdated views on discussing the lives of LGBT Americans.  The Associated Press reported the remarks Rep. Skelton -- the chairman of the U.S. House Armed Services Committee and an original author of the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” law back in 1993 -- made to a media breakfast last Tuesday.  The full AP story is available here: http://tiny.cc/98msy.

“For the chairman of the House Armed Services committee to make such uneducated and unfounded remarks against repealing 'Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell' is nothing short of shocking and reprehensible,” said Kip Williams, co-founder and co-director of GetEQUAL.  “This kind of offensive rhetoric might have slipped by as acceptable to say in 1993, but the country has moved leaps and bounds since then.  Unfortunately, it appears that Rep. Skelton hasn’t.  He should immediately apologize for this scare-mongering that has no place in the public dialogue currently happening around the repeal of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.’”

Williams continued, “Although Rep. Skelton finds himself in a tough re-election campaign against a right-wing Republican, that doesn’t give him the right to use my community as ammunition to score a few political points.  Rep. Skelton can rest assured that he can’t sweep GetEQUAL and our supporters in Missouri under the rug and hope we go away.  We will continue calling him out and holding him accountable for as long as he stands in the way of repealing 'Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell' -- effectively supporting a law that fires able-bodied, patriotic gay and lesbian service members in the midst of two wars.”

GetEQUAL’s national campaign targeting Rep. Skelton was launched this weekend with an email blast signed by GetEQUAL and activist Ed Reggi, a local Missouri resident and co-founder of Show Me No Hate, a Missouri grassroots coalition made up of advocates who support full equality for the LGBT community.  The email demands “a public apology from Rep. Ike Skelton for his homophobic and inaccurate comments” about the military’s discriminatory “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” law and that he “end his public campaign to undercut the effort to repeal” the 17-year-old law.  This weekend’s email can be viewed here: www.getequal.org/missouri.php.  Unless Rep Skelton publicly apologizes for his comments today, GetEQUAL and a growing number of local Missouri gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender advocates, organizations, and veterans are prepared to launch further actions later this week.

“Democrats and Republicans alike need to understand that our community is everywhere, and it is not okay to continue with this type of political homophobia,” wrote Ed Reggi, co-founder of Show Me No Hate, in the national email action sent out over the weekend.  “We're calling on Skelton to offer a full public apology to the LGBT people in his district, and across the country.  It would be bad enough if Ike Skelton were just pretending that ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ still makes sense. But based on his comments yesterday, Skelton wants to pretend that LGBT people don't even exist!”

Rep Skelton’s outdated views about the impact of a debate in Congress on the repeal of the military’s ban prohibiting gay and lesbian Americans from serving openly, is out of line with nearly 80% of the public, according to a CNN poll (http://bit.ly/amCVZ8) released May 25, 2010, and 73% of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans who said in a March 2010 Vet Voice Foundation poll (http://tiny.cc/3f5kz) that it was “personally acceptable to them if gay and lesbian people were allowed to serve openly in the military.”  Additionally, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen, former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Colin Powell, General David Petreaus, and over 100 other admirals and generals -- among many other former and current military leaders and service members -- have all come out in support of repealing the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” law.

To take immediate action calling on Rep. Skelton to publicly apologize for his homophobic remarks, please go to: www.getequal.org/missouri.php

To join the effort to push for an Executive Order to immediately stop the firing of gay and lesbian service members, please go to: www.getequal.org/dadt.php

GetEQUAL is a national, direct action lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender civil rights organization.  Emphasizing direct action and people power, the mission of GetEQUAL is to empower the LGBT community and its allies to take action to demand full legal and social equality, and to hold accountable those who stand in the way.  For more information on GetEQUAL, please visit: http://www.getequal.org. You can follow GetEQUAL on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/getequal, on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/pages/GetEQUAL/357280104305, or on YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/getequal.

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