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The Rally and Beyond


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.

By General Keith Kerr (Retired) and Ben Mishkin, SLDN Grassroots Organizer |

3 Comments

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James E. Pietrangelo, II in Cleweland, OH on March 12, 2009 at 02.11 pm

I salute those organizing and participating in the rally, but it is doomed to fail, as it has these many years.  It will fail because it is based on the misconception that President Obama and the Democrats believe in and support equality—first-class citizenship—for Gays.  Those of us who have served in the Military know that only one thing matters: action.  Not talk, but action.  And talk is all that Obama and the Democrats offer and will ever offer.  We need protests, not rallies.  A civil rights movement is the only thing that will likely give us equality.  On April 6th, Obama’s government will respond to my petition before the US Supreme Court in my DADT challenge.  Your rally hopes will be dashed, I’m sorry to say, by that response.  It will support DADT.  Obama will support DADT.  Spread the word.

Robin Chatelle in CT on March 10, 2009 at 04.00 pm

I was discharged in 1996 for “Homosexual Admission” and that discharge has been teh biggest disappointment of my life. I want to serve my country and do my part. I see soldiers being deployed over and over again, soldiers being injured and killed and my sense of regret increases as well as my sense of duty. I want to serve. I want to do my part.

rewinn in Mercer Island, WA  on March 10, 2009 at 03.26 pm

I just think DADT is unAmerican, as contrary to the spirit of equal opportunity and fair play.

Every time I read of another case, it seems we lost a valuable servicemember, and a little bit of our national honor.

http://lawyersforwarriors.blogspot.com/search/label/DADT