Joins Human Rights Campaign in calling on Attorney General Eric Holder to not appeal recent court decision ruling DADT unconstitutional
LOS ANGELES -- Today, U.S. Senate Republicans blocked a cloture vote on the 2011 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). Among other things, NDAA would fund the troops in Iraq and Afghanistan and repeal the military's "Don't Ask Don't Tell" policy, which has led to the discharge of more than 14,000 qualified service men and women at a cost of more than $1.3 billion, and was ruled unconstitutional by a federal court on September 9th.
The legislation also includes the "DREAM Act," which allows the children of undocumented workers to qualify for a conditional path to citizenship by completing a college degree or committing to two years of military service.
In response, Courage Campaign Chairman and Founder Rick Jacobs has issued the following statement:
"Today a small minority of 'conservative' U.S. Senators put partisan politics ahead of the lives and careers of our military men and women by blocking consideration of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). The legislation includes a repeal of the military's failed "Don't Ask Don't Tell" policy, funding for our nation's military, including those in fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan, and incentives for military service and academic achievement in the DREAM Act.
Three quarters of Americans support elimination of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" because it is unconstitutional, un-American, and un-safe. We had a vote today because millions of Americans made their voices heard, and we will continue to keep the pressure on until this policy is relegated to the dustbin of history where it belongs. This is not a matter of right and left, it's about right and wrong.
The disappointing message that Senate Republicans and the extremists vying to join them in November delivered today is that supporting our troops -- like creating jobs, cutting taxes for the middle class and building a 21st century workforce -- are simply NOT priorities in their America.
That's why we are also joining the Human Rights Campaign in calling on the Department of Justice to recognize the injustice of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" and honor the service of these soldiers by not filing an appeal of the September 9th ruling by a federal judge that found this policy to be unconstitutional. We applaud the Log Cabin Republicans for initiating this case and we hope the Justice Department recognizes that it's time to consign this discriminatory law to the dustbin of history."
On Monday, prior to the cloture vote, the Courage Campaign delivered 557,293 signatures from members across America calling for the repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell to targeted Senators who were previously uncommitted on breaking the filibuster: Susan Collins (R-ME), Olympia Snowe (R-ME), Mark Pryor (D-AR), Richard Lugar (R-IN), Judd Gregg (R-NH), Jim Webb (D-VA), George Voinovich (R-OH), and Kit Bond (R-MO).
Courage Campaign Equality is a part of the Courage Campaign's multi-issue online organizing network that empowers more than 700,000 grassroots and netroots supporters to push for progressive change and full equality in California and across the country. For more information on "Testimony: Equality on Trial" -- our year-long campaign to bring the Prop 8 trial into the lives of Americans -- visithttp://www.EqualityOnTrial.org. For more information on the Prop. 8 Trial, visit our Prop 8 Trial Tracker blog at http://prop8trialtracker.com. Learn more about our summer-long campaign to hold secretive Prop. 8 financier, the National Organization for Marriage, accountable for its lies and divisive rhetoric about LGBT families at www.nomtourtracker.com.
Rick Jacobs is the founder and chair of the Courage Campaign. He chaired Howard Dean's presidential campaign in California. He is also the co-founder of Brave New Films and a featured contributor to Arianna Huffington's Huffingtonpost.com. Rick has an extensive background as an international investor and senior executive. An openly gay man, Jacobs attended every day of the historic Prop. 8 Federal Trial in January 2010, liveblogging directly from U.S. District Court Judge Vaughn Walker's courtroom to the Prop 8 Trial Tracker, garnering more than 2.5 million page views and 43,000 comments from across America.