President Obama declared, in
his State of the Union address:
"This year, I will work with
Congress and our military to finally repeal the law
that denies gay Americans the right to serve the
country they love because of who they are."
This is a call to arms for the
GLBT community and its allies. Note the President
said “This year…” That means now in political
parlance. Note he also said “I will work with
Congress….” That means he’s personally committed;
it’s now a White House priority, stamped with the
imprimatur of a State of the Union speech. And note
that he said “repeal the law …” He didn’t say tweak
it, or reform it or revise it – repeal, as in
There is great urgency for
this to happen now. If DADT doesn’t get repealed in
2010, then it likely won’t happen for a very
long time. Given that the Democratic majority in
both the House of Representatives and Senate are
quite likely to be seriously diminished following
the November elections, it truly is “now or never”
Critical to the successful
repeal of DADT are the opinions of the Secretary of
Defense and the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Although
Congress is solely responsible for enacting repeal
legislation (which is the only realistic way to get
rid of DADT), the members of Congress who vote on
the issue need to hear from their military experts,
the Joint Chiefs and SecDef, that allowing gays to
serve honestly, honorably and openly will not hurt
the military. The legislators need that
reassurance. Absent that opinion from the Pentagon,
it’s unlikely there will be enough votes in
Congress, even with the current Democratic
majorities, to pass repeal legislation.
While we in the GLBT community
cannot do much to influence what the Joint Chiefs
have to say on the issue, we can let our
Congressional delegates know how we feel about it.
The American public is vastly on our side of this
issue (unlike the issue of gay marriage). Recent
polls show anywhere from 75-81% of the public
favoring gays serving openly in the military. So
legislators should have political “cover” for a
favorable vote on this issue. But since politics is
all local, constituents need to let their own
Senators and Congressional Representatives hear from
them, repeatedly if necessary. This is crucial.
You can bet our opponents are organizing even now
for a strong anti-gay push.
The first thing we need to do
is tell the President we want to see repeal language
in the upcoming Defense Authorization Bill.
Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (www.sldn.org)has
provided good information on how to do that:
the White House switchboard at 202-456-1414 and tell
the president to:
Make good on his commitment to
end "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" when he submits his
defense budget. Ask Congress to partner with him so
that we can get repeal done in 2010.
Example Script for
Hello, my name is
__________ and I'm calling from __________ (city,
I'm calling to urge President Obama to
keep his promise to end "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" and
include repeal in his defense budget. This
discrimination is wrong.
Firing qualified service
members simply because they're gay needs to stop in
2010. Thank you.
Next, take the few minutes
necessary to write an e-mail to your Senators and
Representatives; call the White House with your
support, and call your Senators and Representatives
as well. And then go on Facebook and Myspace and
urge all your friends to do likewise.
THIS IS IT! It’s now or
Gay Military Signal