All Hands On Deck
There is good news, bad news, and potentially good news on the DADT (Don’t Ask Don’t Tell) Front. And all the news can become really good if we all pitch in—this is truly an “all hands on deck” moment
Good news is that the U.S. military seems to be discharging fewer and fewer service personnel each year under the Don’t Ask Don’t Tell policy. In federal Fiscal Year 2009, the discharges numbered 443, a record low.
Bad news is that this brings the total number of discharges to 13,425 since 1993, when the policy was adopted.
More bad news is that even people like Virginia’s senior U.S. Senator, Jim Webb——a decorated combat veteran, a former Secretary of the Navy, and a key member of the Senate Armed Services Committee—may not be getting accurate information about how many troops have been discharged over the years this odious policy has been in place.
According to Servicemembers United—the nation’s largest organization of gay and lesbian troops, veterans and their allies—the Department of Defense has never, in various public reports since 1993, included discharges from the Reserves or National Guard. Given how many of these troops are called up these days, that could mean many more discharges happened than have been reported.
Good news is that the President, Secretary of Defense, and Chairperson of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and many other senior leaders, are championing repeal. But most agree that Congress must act.
So, potentially more good news is that the Senate Armed Services Committee is due to take up repeal of DADT, as part of its consideration of the Military Readiness Enhancement Act in early May.
But this won’t be good news if at least two of four senators on the committee who have not yet announced their positions on the legislation fail to support it.
One of those senators is, you guessed it, Jim Webb. You can help by letting him know you want him to support repeal. It’s easy to send him an email at http://webb.senate.gov/contact.cfm or you can call his district office in Richmond at 804/771-2221 or his Washington office at (202)-224-4024.
However you choose to contact Senator Webb, know that when you do you are not only standing up for those already discharged and those who might be, but also you are helping to make our country more secure. There is no way our country is more secure by rejecting the service of fierce queer warriors (including personnel with rare and much needed skills).
Senator Webb is an old Marine. He knows what it means when all hands are needed on deck. Let’s show him we know, too. Call Today!
And tell him we’re waiting for him to show up—NOW!
Rev. Dr. Robin H. Gorsline is President of People of Faith for Equality in Virginia, an interfaith organization of gay and straight clergy and lay people working for equality for LGBT Virginians. Read more of his thoughts on faith and spirituality on his personal blog.
Image via Colorlines Staff Reports WASHINGTON — A gay West Point graduate discharged from the militaryfor revealing his sexual orientation has been fined $100 in case resulting from his arrest during a 2010 White House demonstration. A spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office says Dan Choi was convicted and fined Thursday by a judge hearing his case. Choi faced a [...]March 29, 2013
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