Senate floor vote to repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” is just weeks away
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (SLDN), a national, legal services and policy organization dedicated to ending “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” (DADT), issued a national action alert today to members and advocates. The action alert, signed by former Petty Officer Second Class Jed Batchelder, U.S. Navy, asks supporters to schedule in-state meetings with their U.S. senators ahead of the Senate floor vote expected just weeks from now. Shortly after members return Sept. 13, the full Senate is expected to vote on the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which includes language that allows for the repeal of DADT. To view the action alert visit: http://bit.ly/ap2aBx
“As we approach expected key votes on repeal in only a matter of weeks in the Senate, we need repeal supporters in all 50 states to contact their senators and tell them to end ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ by following the lead of Chairman Carl Levin who will be managing the defense bill on the floor,” said Aubrey Sarvis, executive director for Servicemembers Legal Defense Network. “Your senators need to hear that you expect them to beat back the filibuster threat, stop attempts to strike repeal, and defeat any crippling amendments.”
In late July, SLDN and the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) launched the “Countdown 2010” grassroots campaign to increase support and to press for passage of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” repeal in the U.S. Senate. This nationwide campaign has been mobilizing grassroots supporters of equality across the country through in-state meetings as well as a call-in and e-mail campaign during August recess.
List of key senators ahead of repeal vote:
--Blanche Lincoln (D-Ark.);
--Mark Pryor (D-Ark.);
--Richard Lugar (R-Ind.);
--Jon Tester (D-Mont.);
--Max Baucus (D-Mont.);
--Mike Johanns (R-Neb.);
--John Ensign (R-Nev.);
--Judd Gregg (R-N.H.);
--Byron Dorgan (D-N.D.);
--Kent Conrad (D-N.D.);
--George Voinovich (R-Ohio);
--Tim Johnson (D-S.D.); and
--Mark Warner (D-Va.).
Full text of today’s alert:
In just a matter of weeks members of the U.S. Senate will return to Washington, D.C., from their August recess to cast make-or-break votes to repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” And until that vote comes, supporters of repeal will need to keep up the pressure on both their senators.
One way to speak out between now and Labor Day is to schedule in-state meetings with your senators before they return to Washington on Sept. 13.
Recently, SLDN's Legislative Associate Emily Sussman and I met with Senator Byron Dorgan’s (D-N.D.) staff and Senator Kent Conrad’s (D-N.D.) staff. I shared my story as a veteran who served as a Petty Officer Second Class in the U.S. Navy until being discharged under DADT. Emily and I hope our visit will have made a positive impact upon both senators.
You can share your story too, as a veteran or a civilian.
Whether your senators are Democrat or Republican, they were elected to serve their constituents and do what's right. Don't let your senators forget the discrimination service members continue to face under DADT. Let's show Washington - one senator at a time - why we need to slam the door on this archaic law.
Senators must be reminded that “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” repeal is a priority and should be at the top of the legislative calendar when they return in September. Advocates of open service have worked for nearly two decades to come as close as we are today to finally knocking this law off the books.
Face-to-face meetings are among the most powerful and persuasive ways to tell the stories of our service members. Be a voice for the 66,000 LGBT patriots who serve under the burden of forced silence every day because of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”
Don't wait another day. The time is NOW.
Every state will play a decisive role in the Senate's upcoming votes. We are counting on you to keep the message for repeal strong in the coming weeks.
Former Petty Officer Second Class, U.S. Navy
Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (www.sldn.org) is a national, non-profit legal services and policy organization dedicated to ending “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” A journalists’ guide is available here.
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