Monday, December 13, 2010

Protesters Rally as Stand-alone DADT Repeal Bill Introduced in Senate

After last Thursday's procedural senate train wreck that derailed the National Defense Authorization Bill and DADT repeal, Senator Joe Leiberman (D-CT) and Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) put their heads together on Friday and introduced legislation to overturn the anti-gay policy. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi also got to work on legislation which she has vowed to push through the house.

The Washington Post reported on Friday:
Several Democratic senators are cosponsoring the new measure, and while Sens. Scott Brown (R-Mass.) and Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) - key potential GOP votes - remain supportive of ending the ban, they are not expected to cosponsor it, according to Senate aides. The aides asked their names be withheld because they are not authorized to speak publicly on the issue.

Lieberman and Collins hatched their plans during Thursday's defense bill vote, concluding that a standalone measure would succeed if introduced after senators vote on tax cut legislation.

Reid has promised Lieberman that he will use his power as majority leader - which allows him to bypass the committee process - and introduce the bill for a vote, aides said.

President Obama wants to explore all legislative options to overturn the ban during the lame-duck session, White House aides said Friday. His campaign operation e-mailed supporters asking them to lobby Republicans to vote for the new bill.
Meanwhile there was a rally on Friday afternoon in DC near the Senate Office Building calling on the House and Senate to forgo Christmas vacation and stay in town until they get this thing done. News reports are that between 150 and 200 activists and military veterans turned out for the rally, which was organized by Servicemembers Legal Defense Network and Servicemembers United. 

ABC News reports:
“None of us gets to go home for Christmas until we’re done with our jobs, the Senate doesn’t go home until it’s done with its job,” said Commander Zoe Dunning of the United States Navy.

Amid chants of “Don’t go home,” the protesters stressed that legislators had an obligation to the straight and LGBT service members stationed across the world through the Christmas holidays.

“If I can serve overseas in harm’s way for four Christmases defending my nation then the Senate can certainly do the same,” said Major Mike Almy of the United States Air Force.

Gay and straight activists shared stories of personal struggle and sought to show that, no matter the orientation, all service members serve the same military.

“Today all around the globe our service members in the Army, the Navy, the Air Force, the Marines, the Coast Guard are standing watch in the cold, like we are today, some might be a little bit lucky and are in slightly warmer places but they’re standing watch and their orientation has nothing to do with their ability to do their job,” said former Sergeant Pepe Johnson.
Interestingly, although HRC had someone at the rally, it wasn't Joe Solmonese, who has been virtually invisible for the last few months. Hmmm...

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