HRC Blog

Rep. Carson Headlines Week of DADT Repeal Activities in Indiana

This post on our DADT repeal work in Indiana is from HRC organizer Nick Veach: HRC's Marty Rouse speaks with supporters Joining us in Indiana this week was Marty Rouse -- HRC's national field director.  We got right to work with aur first meeting with Mark St. John and Randy Studt of Indiana Equality. Indiana Equality is a cosponsor of HRC’s Veteran Lobby Day in DC on May 11th. You can learn more info and sign up at We talked about our continued partnership to repeal “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” along with Indiana’s ongoing battle to defeat a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage and holding on to a fair-minded state House. Sunday morning kicked off at 7:15am when we arrived at the WTHR (the Indianapolis NBC affiliate) studio for a live interview with Marty and Indiana veteran Sharon Simms.  Sharon served for 21 years in the Naval Reserve as a commissioned officer and nurse practitioner. She obtained a PhD in nursing while serving and is currently head of Indiana University’s School of Nursing program. While serving under the law, Sharon was deployed on humanitarian missions across the world and has received numerous honors for her service. Rouse and Indiana veteran Sharon Simms prepare for their morning interview Because of DADT, Sharon was forced to pretend her partner of twenty years was nothing more than a friend at her retirement ceremony, when all others are able to share that honor with their families. That afternoon we hosted an event at 45 Degrees, a restaurant in the Arts District of Indianapolis, to thank Congressman Andre Carson for co-sponsoring the House version of the Military Readiness and Enhancement Act.  A large number of Indiana activists, supporters & veterans gathered as Alex Nicholson of Servicemembers United told the crowd his story about being discharged. Marty spoke about what HRC is doing here in Indiana and across the country and Rep. Rep. Carson signs a DADT repeal post card to send to his Senators Carson spoke passionately about values of equality, fairness and tolerance which were instilled in him by his late grandmother Congresswoman Julia Carson.  As a member of the LGBT Caucus, Rep. Carson pledged that he will continue in the tradition of his grandmother and always advocate for the equality and fairness for all individuals. You can watch a piece of our event on the local news. After the program, Marty, Adrian and I were able to meet and mingle with the Congressman, supporters, and allies from Stonewall Democrats and Indiana Equality that were on hand to provide support for repealing DADT this year. The weekend of events and meetings ended successfully as partnerships were formed, actions were taken and new HRC members found. Indiana veterans, activists & supporters of DADT repeal came together for a common goal…to repeal “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” this year!

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