HomeNewsNational Newsnews Veterans, Advocates for “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” Repeal Kick-Off Day of Action with Vigil at Cong. Na
Veterans, Advocates for “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” Repeal Kick-Off Day of Action with Vigil at Cong. Na
Nov 15, 2010 at 11:35 AM
Vigil at Gravesite of Sgt. Leonard Matlovich to Send Blunt Message to U.S. Senate – Repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” NOW!
Washington, DC. – This morning, GetEQUAL - a national lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender civil rights organization - along with veterans and other “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” repeal advocates held a vigil at the gravesite of Sgt. Leonard Matlovich – located on the grounds of the Congressional National Cemetery (1801 E Street, Southeast, Washington, DC). The vigil held to coincide with the starting day of the lame duck session of Congress had a message for the U.S. Senate – Repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” Now! Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, President Barack Obama and other Democratic leaders have continually reassured the LGBT community the legislation would get taken care of during the lame duck session of Congress.
The vigil centered around the gravesite of gay Vietnam Veteran, Leonard Matlovich. Matlovich, a recipient of both the Purple Heart and Bronze Star, made headlines in the 1970’s after he came out as openly gay and fought to stay in the US Air Force – landing him on the cover of Time Magazine. Matlovich’s tombstone at the Congressional National Cemetery is meant to be a memorial to all gay veterans and is inscribed with the well-known phrase: ““When I was in the military, they gave me a medal for killing two men and a discharge for loving one.”
“As Congress begins the lame-duck session today – the last legislative opportunity to repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” – we will be making sure Senator Harry Reid, President Obama and the rest of the U.S. Senate know we expect them to deliver on their promise to do away with this ban by year’s end,” said Robin McGehee, co-founder and director of GetEQUAL. “As we launch a series of actions later today and throughout the week that will focus on holding the Senate leadership and President Obama accountable, there isn’t a more perfect place than here at Leonard’s tombstone that gave us the rallying cry that articulated for a nation the personal pain this policy inflicts on gay and lesbian service members still today. As we gather and begin the most critical, double-overtime moment in the movement to repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”, we will carry with us the spirit of Leonard and all those who have fought this fight for literally decades.”
** Press requests and other media-related inquiries should be directed to Brad Luna, Luna Media Group, 202-812-8140 (cell) or **
The vigil will be one in a series of actions GetEQUAL will engage in throughout the day and week to pressure the Senate to pass the repeal of the discriminatory, “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” law. The lame duck session begins on Monday, November 15thand is expected to run approximately two weeks – or until leadership has the votes to call adjournment. With congressional leaders such as John McCain and Carl Levin in discussions over the Don’t Ask Don’t Tell policy, national activists across party lines are making their voices heard.