Wednesday, February 17, 2010

US Troops are Ready for Don't Ask, Don't Tell Repeal

When Adm. Mike Mullen appeared with Defense Secretary Robert Gates before the Senate Armed Services Committee two weeks ago to announce a year-long study on the affects of repealing the ban on openly gay service members, one of the major concerns voiced by opponents was the impact on troop morale, and preparedness.

During a trip to Jordan this week, Mullen engaged in a question and answer period with troops based in Amman and noticed toward the end of the session that no one had asked him anything about repealing "Don't ask, Don't tell". So he asked.

McClatchey news reports:

Navy Adm. Michael Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, was nearing the end of a 25-minute question and answer session with troops serving here when he raised a topic of his own: "No one's asked me about 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell,'" he said.

As it turned out, none of the two dozen or so men or women who met with Mullen at Marine House in the Jordanian capital Tuesday had any questions on the 17-year-old policy that bars gays and lesbians from serving openly in the military — or Mullen's public advocacy of its repeal.

Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Darryl E. Robinson, who's the operations coordinator for defense attache's office at the U.S. Embassy here, explained why after the session. "The U.S. military was always at the forefront of social change," he said. "We didn't wait for laws to change."

After Tuesday's question-and-answer session, Mullen told McClatchy that although he's held three town hall sessions with troops since his testimony, not a single service member has asked him about the issue.

At Tuesday's session, which included not only Marines, but members of the Army and the Air Force, both male and female service members explained why they were nonplussed by the issue: They'd already served with gays and lesbians, they accepted that some kind of change was imminent, and, they said, the nation was too engulfed in two wars for a prolonged debate about it.

That there's been so little reaction raises questions about how much study the issue needs and whether the Pentagon study is meant to pacify its concerns — or Congress'.

Read the full story here.

Here is how you you can have an impact on the efforts to repeal Don't Ask, Don't Tell. 

This Thursday, as the Senate Armed Services Committee meets again to hear testimony on repealing Don't Ask Don't Tell, it is vital that citizens flood the Senate with phone calls demanding the law be repealed NOW!

Capitol Hill Switchboard: (202) 224-3121
Senate Contact List:

Facebook activists Phil Attey, Meghan Stabler, David da Silva Cornell, Lisa Equality Talmadge, Aaron E. Baldwin, Ian Jopson, Justin Elzie, Bo Dixon and Roanoke Equality's Frank House and Steve Publicover ask for your help in harnessing the power of Facebook and unleashing it on the Senate.

Our organizations and our lobbyists aren't strong enough to make this happen without constituent pressure, and there is no greater way to build that pressure than through each of our individual social networks on Facebook.

Tips on Calling Your Senators:

1. Only call YOUR Senators! (Members of Congress don't count "outside callers")
2. Residents of the District of Columbia please make your calls to Senators Reid & Levin
3. Get them to answer: Does the Senator support the repeal?
4. Ask to be put on a special email list to be informed on the Senator's efforts to repeal DADT.
5. Ask to meet with the Senator the next time they're back in your district.

Help Spread The Word:

1. Invite your friends to this Facebook event.
2. Use the "share" feature to post the event on your profile.
3. Use your status update to urge friends to call their Senators
Sample status update:
"urges my friends on Thurs - Feb. 11 to call your Senators (202) 224-3121 and demand they repeal DADT now!
4. On Twitter, tweet the following:
Join the call to repeal #DADT on #Facebook | | #cc10 #lgbt #gay #equality #p2 #topprog

In addition to calling your senators, we encourage you to plug into these organized efforts to pressure Congress to repeal DADT:

Act On Principles Citizen Whip Count Effort
Register and report the outcome of your calls on the ActOnPrinciples website so that we can keep a citizen whip count in the House and Senate.

Voices of Honor Campaign
HRC and Servicemembers United have teamed up to channel email into Congress and organize lobby visits, both in your home district and on Capitol Hill.

Servicemembers Legal Defense Network
SLDN is mobilizing people to lobby your Members of Congress and write letters to the editor in your local newspapers.

The Courage Campaign's Don't Wait Campaign
The Courage Campaign is mobilizing messages directly to Senator Levin, who chairs the Senate Armed Services Committee

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