Repealing “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” (DADT) is a prime issue for LGBT lobbyists and activists nationwide–including here at People For. Freedom from discrimination is a basic right that all Americans should enjoy. Repealing DADT is necessary for our nation to restore its core values, especially the principle of equality for all.
On Friday, March 13th, 2009, Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (SLDN) hosted a lobby day and a “Freedom to Serve Rally” on Capitol Hill, and I was pleased to be able to join them. Lobby groups targeted Representatives and Senators who currently oppose the repeal.
As a supporter of repeal, it was difficult for me to understand how Representatives and Senators could refuse to support ending DADT. It was shocking for me to see how many Congress members were completely uninterested in hearing from our group–even those of us who had served in uniform for our country.
Later, I could not hold back the tears when some of our discharged service members, some after even 25 years of service, shared their stories during the Freedom to Serve Rally. Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) was a standout among an impressive lineup of speakers. Rep. Norton declared: “I’m done asking! And I’m telling!” We’re not asking for repeal any longer, we’re telling Congress and President Obama that the time for repeal is now. And this isn’t just about fairness and job discrimination, Rep. Norton noted, but it is also about the strength of our military.
Lifting the ban on “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” is not only necessary for retaining equality, but it’s necessary for ensuring that our armed forces remain the best in the world. It is imperative that we join together to make sure that all Americans can serve honestly and openly in our armed forces. Together, we can and we will lift the ban!