Efforts Part of Field Campaign Aimed at Convincing Key Senators to Vote on Defense Authorization Bill
Washington - As part of an all-out push aimed at convincing senators to bring the National Defense Authorization Act to a vote during the Senate's lame duck session, the Human Rights Campaign, the nation's largest civil rights organization working toward lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality, will place full-page ads in the Cleveland Plain Dealer (Ohio), the Boston Herald (Massachusetts), the Virginian-Pilot (Norfolk, Virginia), and the Indianapolis Star (Indiana) on Monday calling on key senators to put the security of our nation and our troops first. The NDAA funds thousands of defense programs critical to our national security and includes a provision that would repeal the discriminatory and unjust law known as "Don't Ask, Don't Tell."Copies of the ads are available here.
In addition, on Monday, HRC will launch a nation-wide action alert to its1.3 million- strong email list in all 50 states asking recipients to place calls to their senators. HRC is also using its Facebook page and Twitter followers to get the word out about the importance of calling senators.
Earlier this week, HRC launched an aggressive grassroots campaign that includes field organizers on the ground in eight key states: Alaska, Arkansas, Indiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Ohio, Virginia and West Virginia. HRC field organizers are recruiting and mobilizing veterans to speak out, holding public events and blanketing local media with pro-repeal messages to raise the issue's profile.
Early reports of the Pentagon's December 1st study indicate that the integration of gays and lesbians into the military will be a non-event. "A few senators who are holding on to the outdated notion that gay and lesbian patriots willing to die for their country should not be able to serve are determined to block a bill that gives pay raises to our troops and protects them while at war," said HRC President Joe Solmonese. "Our troops deserve better. We believe senators in these key states will do the right thing by allowing the NDAA to come up for a vote."
In October, Senator John McCain led a successful Republican filibuster of the NDAA. The President and military leaders, including Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Mike Mullen, have voiced their support for repealing DADT. Republicans, including former Vice President Dick Cheney and former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, have also publically called for repeal. Nearly 80 percent of the American public believes DADT should be repealed.
Solmonese added: "The vast majority of Americans and a majority of senators know that what's important on the battlefield is whether you can do the job, not your sexual orientation. We stand firmly behind our brave men and women in uniform and call on the Senate to give them the tools and the protection they need while fighting in war. They deserve nothing less."
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.
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