Human Rights Campaign Announces May 11th Lobby Day to Repeal DADT Launches National Action Alert to

by Admin

Website allows activists to join growing network supporting repeal Key states identified in national campaign effort www.hrc.org/RepealDADT

Washington - The Human Rights Campaign, the nation's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) civil rights organization, launched a national action alert today to recruit service members, their families and allies to gather in one of the largest showings of veteran support for the repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" (DADT) on May 11, 2010, as Congress begins to take action on the Defense Department budget.

The "Lobby Day" action, in partnership with Servicemembers United, will build a national network of gay and straight veterans willing to give voice to repeal. Focusing on key states where congressional support for repeal is critical, veteran leaders will recruit, train and mobilize their broad community to become effective voices for change. To assist in that effort, HRC field staff has been dispatched to five states - Florida, Indiana, Nebraska, Virginia and West Virginia, with other states to follow in the months ahead.

To elevate the campaign, HRC's national action alert includes an emailed survey to find and build service member participation for the May 11th Lobby Day. HRC is asking members and supporters to pass it along to anyone they know with military connections. To sign up and to join the growing network of supporters to repeal DADT, visit: www.hrc.org/RepealDADT.

"We know that nothing elevates this issue more than the personal stories of veterans and their families who have been so burdened by this law," said Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese. "Too many members of Congress have been removed from the direct impact of 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell.' We hope this national call to lobby will activate former service members and their families to speak candidly and bluntly about the damage caused by this law."

More than 13,500 Americans have been denied the ability to serve - including more than 800 specialists with vital skills like Arabic linguists. It is time to replace the failed DADT law with open service by qualified lesbian and gay service members, ensuring that the military will no longer need to sacrifice those whose service it cannot afford to lose. Iraq War veteran Rep. Patrick Murphy, D-Penn. and Sen. Joe Lieberman, I-Conn. are championing this legislative repeal effort on Capitol Hill.

HRC has been laying the groundwork for repeal through programs like the "Voices of Honor" and "Legacy of Service" tours, which organized in key states to highlight the costs of DADT and promote the voices of gay and straight veterans who support repeal. This week, HRC joined a coalition of groups led by Media Matters to help debunk many of the myths around repealing DADT. To read more visit the HRC blog: http://www.hrcbackstory.org/2010/02/hrc-joins-coalition-in-debunking-dadt-lies/

A Washington Post/ABC News poll conducted in July 2008 found that 75% of Americans believe openly lesbian and gay citizens should be able to serve in the U.S. military. Additionally, veterans - especially younger generation veterans - are increasingly comfortable serving alongside gay troops. A December 2006 poll of soldiers returning from Iraq and Afghanistan conducted by Zogby International found that 73% of soldiers reported being "comfortable" in the presence of lesbians and gays and only 37% opposed repealing the DADT law.

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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