Frontlines: The Latest from OutServe-SLDN
Military Officials, Service Members Urge Supreme Court to End DOMA. Former Congressman and former U.S. Navy Three-Star Admiral Joe Sestak this week joined with Former Congressman, Army Captain and Iraq War Veteran Patrick Murphy, OutServe-SLDN Executive Director Allyson Robinson, and Staff Sgt. Tracy Johnson in urging the U.S. Supreme Court to end the discriminatory Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). Thirty military officials and OutServe-SLDN, which represents gay and lesbian service members and veterans, each filed an amicus brief in the United States v. Windsor case challenging DOMA and being heard by the U.S. Supreme Court on March 27. Read the news release here.
Final Legal Resolution for former Air Force Major Mike Almy. OutServe-SLDN and the law firm Morrison & Foerster announced on Friday that their client, former Air Force Major Mike Almy, has reached a settlement in his lawsuit against the Defense Department that challenged his 2006 discharge under the discriminatory, now-repealed "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" (DADT) law. Read the news release here.
March 26 Rally for Marriage Scheduled at the U.S. Supreme Cout. On Tuesday, March 26, OutServe-SLDN will join other supporters of the freedom to marry for a rally at the Supreme Court as oral arguments are heard in two cases related to Prop 8 and the so-called Defense of Marriage Act. To RSVP for the rally, click here.
OutServe-SLDN Nominated "Most Innovative Charity" by Logo Television. OutServe-SLDN is nominated to receive Logo Television's NewNowNext award in the catergory "Most Innovative Charity." Please cast your vote here and pass along the link to your friends, family, and colleagues.
03-15-13 Comment (0)
OutServe-SLDN to Supreme Court: Strike Down DOMA: OutServe-SLDN on Friday filed an amicus curiae brief with the United States Supreme Court in the case of United States v. Windsor arguing that the so-called Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) harms military families and compromises national security. The brief, on which the law firm Chadbourne & Parke serves as counsel, urges the Court to strike down the law as unconstitutional. Oral arguments in the case are scheduled in late March.
Meanwhile, retired Navy Captain Joan Darrah, a plaintiff in OutServe-SLDN's lawsuit challenging DOMA in federal court, represented the organization and LGBT military families as broad bipartisan coalition of organizations filing briefs came together in Washington, DC for a news conference spotlighting harm DOMA does to LGBT Americans. To read the news release, click here.
Hagel Confirmed Secretary of Defense. Army Veteran and OutServe-SLDN Executive Director Allyson Robinson praised the Senate this week for confirming former Nebraska Senator Chuck Hagel by a vote of 58-41 as the nation’s next Secretary of Defense. She called on him to address the military's lack of discrimination and harassment protections for gay and lesbian service members. To read the news release, click here.
Broadway Boys Set to Headline OS-SLDN National Dinner March 9. OutServe-SLDN announced the addition of The Broadway Boys to the lineup for the upcoming March 9 2013 National Dinner in Washington, DC. The group is a collection of the hottest male voices currently working on the New York stage. Through their dynamic vocal prowess and redefining arrangements, the Boys add elements of Pop, Funk, Gospel, Jazz, and Folk to showtunes and classic pop songs. Tickets are still available and may be purchased here.
03-01-13 By Zeke Stokes, OutServe-SLDN Communications Director | Comment (0)
Collateral Damage: How the Defense of Marriage Act Harms the Troops and Undermines the U.S. Military. Following Defense Secretary Leon Panetta’s recent announcement that the Department of Defense would extend some benefits to same-sex couples, advocates quickly turned to another stumbling block—the Defense of Marriage Act, or DOMA, awaiting a Supreme Court ruling on its constitutionality this summer. This week, the Center for American Progress and OutServe-SLDN released a report, “Collateral Damage: How the Defense of Marriage Act Harms the Troops and Undermines the U.S. Military,” which details exactly how DOMA negatively affects gay service members and their families. Read the report and watch the video here.
Retiring Army Colonel Tapped to Become First OutServe-SLDN Chapter Director. Army Veteran and OutServe-SLDN Executive Director Allyson Robinson announced this week the appointment of Colonel Gary D. Espinas, currently a military professor of national security affairs in Monterey, California, as the first Director of Chapter and Member Services at OutServe-SLDN. Espinas will begin the newly created full-time position on April 30 following his military retirement. Read the news release here.
Bishop Gene Robinson Joins Lineup for March 9 National Dinner. Episcopal Bishop Gene Robinson has joined the lineup of special guests for the March 9 OutServe-SLDN National Dinner in Washington, DC. Other special guests scheduled to appear include former Congressman Patrick Murphy (D-PA); reality television stars and winners of CBS’s The Amazing Race, Josh Kilmer-Purcell and his partner Brent Ridge (The Fabulous Beekman Boys); Washington Post opinion writer and MSNBC contributor Jonathan Capehart; and the first same-sex couple to wed in the West Point Cadet Chapel, Sue Fulton and Penelope Gnesin. To purchase tickets, click here.
02-22-13 By Zeke Stokes, OutServe-SLDN Communications Director | Comment (0)
Remembering Charlie Morgan. OutServe-SLDN mourns the loss of one of our own this week, CW2 Charlie Morgan, who passed away following a nearly two-year fight with cancer punctuated by her own family's battle against the so-called Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). To read OutServe-SLDN's statement on the passing of CW2 Morgan, click here. On Friday, U.S. Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) introduced The Charlie Morgan Military Spouses Equal Treatment Act in her honor. To learn more, click here.
Panetta Extends Benefits. Army Veteran and OutServe-SLDN Executive Director Allyson Robinson praised outgoing Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta for his decision to extend to nearly the full extent permitted under current law the benefits available to gay and lesbian service members and their families. Though Panetta’s announcement did not include a number of important items that could have been granted - including on-base housing, burial rights at national cemeteries and some overseas travel for spouses, which remain under consideration - Robinson called the package “substantive” and acknowledged that the Pentagon has done almost as much as it can with the so-called Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) still on the books. To read the news release, click here.
Robinson Will Deliver "State of LGBT Miltary Service" Address at National Dinner. The 2013 OutServe-SLDN National Dinner will take place at the National Building Museum in Washington, DC on Saturday, March 9, 2013. The organization’s Executive Director, Army veteran Allyson Robinson, will deliver her first “State of LGBT Military Service” address to set the stage for an evening expected to draw a thousand service members, veterans, families, and allies. To purchase tickets or become a table captain or sponsor, click here.
02-15-13 By Zeke Stokes, OutServe-SLDN Communications Director | Comment (0)
No Movement on Reports of Panetta Action on Benefits. Outgoing Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta was expected this week to announce the long-delayed extension of support and benefits for gay and lesbian military families, according to reports first made by the Washington Post. Army Veteran and OutServe-SLDN Executive Director Allyson Robinson released this statement, indicating the hopes of OutServe-SLDN that Panetta will take full advantage of this final opportunity to act before leaving office. As of the time of this briefing, the Pentagon had announced no action.
Robinson to Hold First Online Town Hall for OutServe Chapter Leaders, Members. OutServe-SLDN Executive Director Allyson Robinson will hold a first-of-its-kind online town hall meeting exclusively for actively serving OutServe members to discuss her first 100 days as ED, as well as answer questions and listen to comments. The event, "Fort Bragg, Hagel, and the Path Forward," will take place via Google Hangout and Twitter. For more information, click here.
OutServe-SLDN National Dinner Set for March 9. Tickets are on sale for OutServe-SLDN's 2013 National Dinner taking place on Saturday, March 9 at the National Building Museum in Washington, DC. The first announcement of special guests came this week and includes former Congressman Patrick Murphy (D-PA) and reality stars The Fabulous Beekman Boys, winners of the CBS series, The Amazing Race. Additional special guests will be announced next week. Click here to purchase tickets.
02-08-13 By Zeke Stokes, OutServe-SLDN Communications Director | Comment (0)
Hagel Renews Commitment to Action in Confirmation Hearing Testimony. Consistent with his recent public statements, former Nebraska Senator Chuck Hagel reiterated his commitment to do everything possible under current law to provide gay and lesbian service members and their families with equal benefits and support on Thursday during his confirmation hearing before the Senate Armed Services Committee on Capitol Hill. Hagel said he would move quickly upon confirmation to create greater equity for gay and lesbian service members and their families should he become Secretary of Defense. OS-SLDN's Allyson Robinson was on the Hill and released this statement at the conclusion of the hearing.
Robinson Op-ed on Hagel Featured in Washington Post. Meanwhile, OS-SLDN's Allyson Robinson published an op-ed in the Washington Post on Wednesday on the eve of the hearing, calling on Hagel - should he be confirmed - to make good on his commitment to LGBT military families and on the vision President Obama set forth in his inaugural address last month. For the full text of the op-ed, click here.
Gillibrand, Shaheen Call on Panetta to Act. Senate Armed Services Committee members Senators Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) called on Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta to end his two-year silence on extending recognition, support, and benefits to LGBT service members and their families as the law currently allows before he leaves his post at the Pentagon. OS-SLDN praised this move with a news release following up its own similar calls last week. To read the news release, click here.
Get Your Tickets Now for March 9 National Dinner. The 2013 OS-SLDN National Dinner on March 9 is quickly approaching and tickets are going fast. To secure your spot, it's important that you purchase tickets as quickly as possible. This event sold out last year, and OS-SLDN expects the same this year. Announcements about special guests will be coming soon. Purchase tickets here.
02-01-13 By Zeke Stokes, OutServe-SLDN Communications Director | Comment (0)
By Bill Briggs, NBC News contributor
Hours after same-sex Army wife Ashley Broadway was named Fort Bragg's 2013 “spouse of the year,” the on-base spouses club — that has for two months rebuffed Broadway's bid to join — fully reversed course and invited her "to become a full member," according to emails sent to NBC News and Broadway.
The decision comes one week after the Association of Bragg Officers' Spouses (ABOS) extended Broadway — who is married to Army Lt. Col. Heather Mack — a "special guest membership," an invitation she declined and called "extremely demeaning."
To read the entire article click here
01-28-13 Comment (0)
Decorated Army veteran Allyson Robinson has some major plans for the country’s only organization dedicated to serving LGBT people in uniform.
BY SUNNIVIE BRYDUM
Allyson Robinson is a decorated veteran, a wife, a mother, an ordained Baptist minister, and the executive director of the recently combined advocacy organization for LGBT people in uniform, OutServe-Servicemembers Legal Defense Network. The Army veteran was tapped to lead the 6,000-member organization in October, and her appointment is noteworthy not only because she is one of the few women leading a military group but also because she is the first transgender person to lead a national LGBT organization.
Robinson’s appointment is anything but an affirmative-action hire, said retired Navy captain April Heinze, cochair of OutServe-SLDN’s Board of Directors in a statement announcing the hire. “Allyson Robinson is exactly the right person at the right time to be our leader and voice in Washington in the fight to achieve full LGBT equality in the military,” said Heinze.
To read the enitire article click here
01-25-13 Comment (0)
LGBT Groups Fight Back Against Military Policies That Exclude Same-Sex Spouses
OutServe-SLDN seeks records of Fort Bragg leaders' discussions regarding the spouses group that meets at the base. The Human Rights Campaign is asking Defense Secretary Panetta for action now to help address the situation.
Chris Geidner, BuzzFeed Staff
WASHINGTON — The Army leadership at Fort Bragg is facing a public records request from the leading LGBT military group, seeking information on whether the military leaders are "working for them or against them," following BuzzFeed's Tuesday report that the Army would not stop a spouses group from meeting on the military base there despite the group's policy against allowing the same-sex partner of officers.
In a letter dated Wednesday, the legal director of OutServe-SLDN submitted a Freedom of Information Act request seeking communications over the past six months relating to the membership policies of the Association of Bragg Officers' Spouses, which denied membership to Ashley Broadway. Broadway is married to Army Lt. Col. Heather Mack.
To read the entire article click here.
01-16-13 Comment (0)
My military career began in the summer of 1990 when I reported for duty at West Point to begin "Beast Barracks" -- six weeks of hard-core military indoctrination that begin the long, arduous process of molding high schoolers into leaders of character to serve the nation. As part of that process, new cadets -- or plebes, as they are known -- must commit to memory a book full of what our upper class instructors called "knowledge," but that seemed more like trivia -- from facts about military customs and courtesies, to the number of gallons of water in the post reservoir, to quotes from famous and not-so-famous generals. At the time it seemed like just another excuse for our cadre to harass us; only in hindsight did the purpose become clear.
One item of plebe knowledge that has stuck with me was an excerpt from the standing orders given by Army General William Worth to the battalion he commanded in the War of 1812. Worth states, in part, "An officer on duty knows no one -- to be partial is to dishonor both himself and the object of his ill-advised favor." At a time when cronyism and corruption were rife in America's Army, Worth argued for impartiality as the hallmark of effective leadership -- a principle that served me well during my own time commanding troops.
To read the full story click here.
01-10-13 Comment (0)