Just minutes ago, the House of Representatives passed by a vote of 322 to 96 the 2012 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), with objectionable language that we have discussed with you in recent weeks.
Not only does this language strike at progress made toward repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" (DADT) and equality for LGB service members, but Rep. Todd Akin's (R-MO) provision goes even further, expanding DOMA and threatening religious freedom in our military. Put quite simply, it's a dangerous proposition to go down the road of restricting the religious liberties of chaplains and service members.
The opposition may well believe they won the day in the House, simply outnumbering repeal advocates. But this fight is far from over.
We must look to repeal supporters in the Senate, where the defense bill will be taken up next and where we are better positioned than in the House. We need to beat back this harmful language and make sure it does not survive in conference committee.
Make no mistake: these attempts by repeal opponents to shift the debate from DADT to DOMA is simply another way to strike at the dignity of LGB service members. Along with our allies, SLDN will stand up for these warriors, who should never be treated as second-class patriots.
We will be calling upon you to help us when debate begins in the Senate. In the interim, let us all remember and appreciate the service members who gave all so we might be free.
05-26-11 By Aubrey Sarvis, Army Veteran and SLDN Executive Director |