We are just three days away from our Freedom to Serve rally here in Washington, D.C. On March 13, folks from all across the country - military, retired military, federal workers, and civilians - will gather to stand with one voice for the repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell." People from all backgrounds - gay, straight, young, old, black, white, Latino, Asian - will come together to raise their voices for equality and call upon Congress and President Obama to take action. Our message will ring loud and clear: The time for repeal is now.
No longer can we allow this disastrous law to weaken military readiness. Discharging 59 Arabic and Farsi linguists and other critical specialists because of their sexual orientation simply can't stand.
No longer can we ignore the fact that over one million lesbian, gay, and bisexual American veterans have served honorably and with distinction. These patriots have been a credit to our country.
No longer can we watch our staunchest allies like Great Britain or Israel allow their gay personnel to serve openly (and with great success), while we do not afford our own the same opportunity.
Without a doubt, the Freedom to Serve rally will be a powerful show of force -- with moving personal stories, great energy, and lively speakers.
But let us remember that it is just the first step on the path toward change. The rally extends beyond March 13. The President, American people, and more members of Congress than ever before are on our side. There's a palpable sense of forward movement in the air, but in order for real progress to occur we must all do our part and seize this unique opportunity. We cannot let this window of opportunity pass us by.
If each and every individual at the rally (as well as those of you reading this who cannot make it on Friday) commits to talking to his or her senator and representative about supporting the Military Readiness Enhancement Act, then we will have a real shot at replacing "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" with a policy of nondiscrimination -- this year.
03-10-09 By General Keith Kerr (Retired) and Ben Mishkin, SLDN Grassroots Organizer |