Servicemembers United, Human Rights Campaign Announce Broad Coalition, Website For Veterans Lobby Day
May 11th lobbying by gay and straight vets to focus on repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” this year
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Servicemembers United and the Human Rights Campaign announced expanded plans for a national Veterans Lobby Day to be held on May 10-11, 2010 in Washington, DC, as Congress begins to focus on the defense authorization bill – the likely vehicle for “Don’t Ask, Don’ Tell” repeal.
The lobby day, which will bring hundreds of gay and lesbian veterans and their straight veteran allies from around the nation to Capitol Hill, is expected to be the largest lobbying event on “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” to date.
“The next thirty days are going to be absolutely critical in the push for repeal of the ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ law this year,” said Alexander Nicholson, a former U.S. Army interrogator who was discharged under ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ and the current Executive Director of Servicemembers United.
“We need every supportive veteran who is able to come to Washington to join us here on May 10th and 11th for this final push, and we are thrilled to have such an unprecedented coalition of pro-repeal and pro-military organizations joining us in this effort.”
“This broad coalition coming together to urge Congress to end ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ represents a powerful voice for repeal this year,” said Jarrod Chlapowski, the military spokesperson for the Human Rights Campaign.
“A wide majority of Americans, including democrats, republicans and independents recognize this discriminatory law hurts our national security and fails to live up to our values. The time to end ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ is now.”
Nearly 14,000 Americans have been abruptly fired from the U.S. military because of the ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ law – including more than 800 mission critical specialists. Servicemembers United and HRC have been jointly engaged in extensive field and grassroots organizing work across the country to lay the groundwork for repeal through initiatives like the “Voices of Honor” Tour, which organized in key states to highlight the costs of DADTand promote the voices of gay and straight veterans who support repeal.
Iraq War veteran Rep. Patrick Murphy (D-PA) and Sen. Joe Lieberman, (I-CT) are championing this legislative repeal effort on Capitol Hill.
Joining Servicemembers United and HRC in partnership on the event are:
American Veterans for Equal Rights
Citadel Gay and Lesbian Alliance
Service Academy Gay and Lesbian Alumni Association
Servicemembers Legal Defense Network
Service Women’s Action Network
Young Democrats of America Veterans Caucus
Alaskans Together for Equality
Basic Rights Oregon
Citizens for Equal Protection – Nebraska
Equal Rights Washington
Equality New Mexico
Equality South Dakota
Fairness West Virginia
Garden State Equality
Log Cabin Republicans
Louisiana Forum for Equality
National Black Justice Coalition
Ocean Grove United
Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays
Progressive Leadership Alliance of Nevada
Saliendo del Closet (Puerto Rico)
Tennessee Equality Project
UNID@S, The National Latin@ LGBT Human Rights OrganizationUnity Coalition/Coalition Unida
Vermont Freedom to Marry Task Force
Servicemembers United, a non-profit and non-partisan organization, is the nation’s largest organization of gay and lesbian troops and veterans and their allies. Based in Washington, DC, Servicemembers United actively engages in education, advocacy, and lobbying on issues affecting the gay military, veteran, and defense community.
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.