The Servicemembers Legal Defense Network has announced plans for a rally on Friday at the U.S. Capitol to protest the Senate’s failure to pass repeal of “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell,” the military’s ban on openly gay service members.
More than dozen activist groups have signed on to participate in the “Mission: Incomplete” rally, scheduled for Friday at 12 Noon, at Constitution Ave. and Delaware Ave. NE., at Upper Senate Park in Washington D.C.
“We call upon the Senate and the President to remain in session and in Washington until the National Defense Authorization Act is passed -– which includes the repeal of ‘Don’t Ask.’
“The Senate is scheduled to break for holiday vacation; we can’t let them leave. We must show our rage for repeal and insist the Senate stay in Washington until they have finished the job. We implore all who support repeal to join us outside the Senate this Friday.
“As Secretary of Defense Robert Gates said, ‘If not now, when?’
“The lame-duck vote on repeal was set up and dictated by some of the same Senators – like John McCain and Mitch McConnell — who are now delaying to kill the bill. They wanted the Pentagon report -– now they have it. They wanted hearings -– now they’re done.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has said he is determined to pass the defense bill with repeal. Senators must not be allowed to hide any longer behind process, procedure, and tax cuts for the wealthy, while the discrimination continues. We’ve lost 14,000 troops to this antiquated law, and by God, we must not lose another on our watch.
According to the Pentagon study released last week, 92 percent of those service members who said they served alongside a gay person, said they did not consider the gay service member’s presence to have created any problems for unit cohesion.
“With increased pressure — a raised voice — and help from our allies at this key moment, I believe the Senate will stay in session,” said Aubrey Sarvis, U.S. Army veteran and executive director for SLDN.
“We will hit 60 votes … We will send the bill to the President’s desk … And gays and lesbians will keep serving this nation — but this time with the integrity they so deserve,” said Sarvis.
The following activist groups have announced plans to join the demonstration:
American Veterans for Equal Rights (AVER); Equality Federation; GetEqual; Human Rights Campaign (HRC); Kentucky Fairness Alliance; Knights Out; MoveOn PAC; National Gay and Lesbian Task Force; National Center for Lesbian Rights; OutServe; Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG); National People For The American Way (PFAW); PROMO Missouri; National Stonewall Democrats; Swish; VoteVets; and Young Democrats of America.
SLDN was established in 1993 when “Don’t Ask, Don’t Ask” was implemented. In addition to working on repeal, SLDN offers legal services to those impacted by the ban.