MEDIA UPDATE: Repeal vote “likely” TODAY
ALERT: The cloture vote on the National Defense Authorization Act – which includes the repeal of ‘Don’t Ask’ – is likely to happen this evening if unrelated cloture votes earlier in the day fail and open up time on the Senate floor.
REID ON THE SENATE FLOOR MOMENTS AGO: “And I’m likely going to move to my motion to reconsider on the Defense Authorization Act this evening. Allowing, as I will indicate at that time, time for amendments to that piece of legislation.”
SLDN ON THE RECORD STATEMENT: “We expect Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid will try again today to take up the defense bill that includes repeal. Reid is actively reaching out to his Republican colleagues to reach an agreement on how to proceed. We also know from Hill sources the President is actively working today’s vote with key Republican senators. Today the Senate has an opportunity to make the nation’s defense funding and our service members a higher priority than tax cuts for millionaires,” said Aubrey Sarvis, U.S. Army veteran and executive director for Servicemembers Legal Defense Network.
THE ADVOCATE’S KERRY ELEVELD OVERNIGHT:
-- “Senate majority leader Harry Reid may bring to a vote on Wednesday the National Defense Authorization Act with “don’t ask, don’t tell” repeal attached, according to a Senate Democratic aide.
--“Democrats might make use of a narrow window of down time if the four bills scheduled for a vote Wednesday fail to garner the 60 votes necessary to proceed to debate. Those bills include a firefighters collective bargaining bill, the DREAM Act, a 9/11 firefighters health compensation measure, and a measure extending a one-time $250 payment to senior citizens. If all fail, the NDAA could be brought to a vote by sometime Wednesday afternoon.” http://bit.ly/dXKY56
WE NOW HAVE PRYOR (via AmericaBlog.com): “It is a major development. The Senate could take a vote on the Defense bill today. In September, Senator Pryor (D-AR) voted on the wrong side. Just last week, he told an Arkansas newspaper that he would not vote for any bill that repealed Don't Ask, Don't Tell (while also noting his belief that being gay is a sin.) But, he's on board with DADT repeal now.” http://bit.ly/fyd4gN
PRYOR STATEMENT: “On many previous occasions, I have said that I would oppose repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell until I had heard from our servicemen and women regarding this policy. I have now carefully reviewed all of the findings, reports, and testimony from our armed forces on this matter and I accept the Pentagon’s recommendations to repeal Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. I also accept the Secretary of Defense and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs’ commitment that this policy can be implemented in a manner that does not harm our military’s readiness, recruitment, or retention. We have the strongest military in the world and we will continue to do so by ensuring our troops have the resources necessary to carry out their missions. Therefore, I support the 2011 Defense Authorization Act that passed the Senate Armed Services Committee and will support procedural measures to bring it to a vote this year.”
ADVOCATES STILL NEED A COUPLE REPUBLICANS: Who we’re watching
--Susan Collins (R-ME);
--Olympia Snowe (R-ME);
--Richard Lugar (R-IN);
--Judd Gregg (R-NH);
--Scott Brown (R-MA);
--George Voinovich (R-OH);
--Kit Bond (R-MO);
--Lisa Murkowski (R-AK);
--Mark Kirk (R-IL);
LIST OF SERVICE MEMBERS AVAIL FOR INTERVIEWS: http://bit.ly/gfFFJH
CNN PUSHES BACK ON THE GOP TALKING POINT “WE NEED MORE TIME”:
--(CNN) Anderson Cooper: “That was Jon Kyl. So that's the premise. Too little time. That it just takes too long. It takes two weeks typically. That's what McConnell said. We did some checking, however. Here's the legislative history of last year's defense authorization. Senate Bill 1390, the Senate took it up on July 13th, considered 340 amendments and passed it ten days later. That's actually unusually long. In other years the time frame is even shorter.
--“According to democratic congressional staffers who crunched the numbers, since 1990 there have only been four other occasions where passing a defense authorization has taken more than a week. Congressional scholar Norman Ornstein who's been following the Hill for decades agrees, adding that on occasion such bills have been adopted after just a day or two. So keeping them honest tonight, lawmakers are free to support or oppose as they see fit on the merits of it but to say they don't have enough time to consider it, that doesn't wash.”
TAKING NOTHING FOR GRANTED, THE RALLY FOR REPEAL STILL PLANNED FOR FRIDAY:
WHAT: MISSION INCOMPLETE: NO SENATE VACATION UNTIL THE TASK IS FINISHED
WHERE: Constitution Ave. and Delaware Ave., NE, Upper Senate Park, North of U.S. Capitol
WHEN: Friday, December 10, 2010, 12:00 p.m. ET
SPREAD THE WORD:
-- MISSION INCOMPLETE: NO SENATE VACATION UNTIL THE TASK IS FINISHED
--LINK TO AUTOMATICALLY UPLOAD ON FACEBOOK STATUS: http://on.fb.me/hFCbsP
--LINK TO AUTOMATICALLY UPLOAD ON TWITTER STATUS: http://bit.ly/hu6Ssh
--TWITTER HASHTAG: #4REPEAL
--SHORT LINK FOR YOUR OWN ONLINE POST: http://bit.ly/ebbDoj
American Veterans for Equal Rights (AVER)
DOD FED GLOBE
Fairness West Virginia
Human Rights Campaign (HRC)
International Foundation for Gender Education
Kentucky Fairness Alliance
National Gay and Lesbian Task Force
National Center for Lesbian Rights
National Stonewall Democrats
Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) National
People For the American Way (PFAW)
Seattle Gay News
Service Academy Gay and Lesbian Alumni Association
Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (SLDN)
Young Democrats of America
To add your organization please email: firstname.lastname@example.org
--“We call upon the Senate and the President to remain in session and in Washington until the National Defense Authorization Act is passed – which includes the repeal of ‘Don’t Ask.’ The Senate is scheduled to break for holiday vacation; we can’t let them leave. We must show our rage for repeal and insist the Senate stay in Washington until they have finished the job. We implore all who support repeal to join us outside the Senate this Friday. As Secretary of Defense Robert Gates said, ‘If not now, when?’
--“More Americans than ever are with us in this moment. We have the Commander in Chief, the Secretary of Defense, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and a majority of the service chiefs who support repeal. We know that 92 percent of service members are just fine working with their gay, lesbian and bisexual colleagues, according to the Pentagon report. Their attitudes mirror those of nearly 80 percent of Americans."
REACTION TO THE U.S. SENATE HEARINGS: Sarvis: “The hearings were bad for John McCain.”
--Day 1 reaction: http://bit.ly/gpGYf3
--Day 2 reaction: http://bit.ly/erWc92
FROM SUNDAY MORNING: SLDN client, former Sergeant First Class Stacy Vasquez, USA, appeared on ABC’S THIS WEEK with Christiane Amanpour: http://abcn.ws/g1udUF
A SPECIAL REPORT ON REPEAL BY THE ASSOCIATED PRESS BROADCAST: http://apne.ws/etRabO
--SLDN clients Captain Joan E. Darrah, USN (Ret.); Former Sergeant First Class Stacy Vasquez, USA; Former Air Force Staff Sergeant David Hall, USAF; Former Lance Cpl. Danny Hernandez, USMC.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:
--SLDN advisor U.S. Army Major General Vance Coleman (Ret.) in USA TODAY: Gays in our military deserve better http://usat.ly/hp0tpz
--SLDN client, former Capt. Anthony Woods, USA, on CNN’s Parker /Spitzer: http://bit.ly/gkPPpC
--SLDN clients: former U.S. Air Force Major Mike Almy and former U.S. Air Force Staff Sergeant David Hall on MSNBC against Elaine Donnelly: http://bit.ly/i1QCms
--SLDN advisor U.S. Navy Commander Beth Coye (Ret.) in the SEATTLE TIMES: Time for Sen. McCain to support ending the military's 'don't ask, don't tell' law http://bit.ly/ij7a3c
--SLDN board member and former U.S. Marine Sergeant Brian Fricke on MSNBC against Tony Perkins: http://bit.ly/hi2FcM
--SLDN executive director and U.S. Army vet Aubrey Sarvis in THE HILL: The new John McCain: Mocking the legacy of his mentor http://bit.ly/hAOnnv
--SLDN executive director and U.S. Army vet Aubrey Sarvis on MSNBC’s Hardball: http://bit.ly/hNP9Qa
STILL AT RISK: “As the U.S. Senate is poised to take up repeal legislation, service members still cannot come out. A general recently approved the separation of an SLDN client serving overseas in the U.S. Air Force. This service member now faces an administrative separation board. If the discharge moves forward, the fate of the service member’s career will ultimately fall to Secretary Michael B. Donley, Dept. of Defense General Counsel Jeh Johnson, and Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel Dr. Clifford L. Stanley.” Warning to service members: www.SLDN.org/StillAtRisk
ACTION ALERT BY REPEAL ADVOCATES: http://bit.ly/dBKRcd
SERVICE MEMBERS AVAIL FOR MEDIA INTERVIEWS: List Includes Active-Duty, Retired Flag Officers, Discharged Officers/Enlisted/ROTC Students, Youth Interested In Signing Up
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (SLDN), a national, legal services and policy organization dedicated to ending “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” (DADT), will be making the following service members available to discuss repealing DADT in the Senate’s lame-duck session, the release of the Comprehensive Working Group Report and the U.S. Senate hearings this week.
• Former Specialist 4th Class Aubrey Sarvis, USA; served during the 1960s when homosexuality was still a criminal offense in the military. He now serves as executive director of Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (SLDN). Sarvis is the former chief counsel for the Senate Commerce Committee and later served as executive vice president of Verizon Communications. MARKET: WASHINGTON, DC. BOOKING: email@example.com
• Major General Dennis Laich, USA (Ret.); was commissioned through Army ROTC at Lafayette College, Easton, Pennsylvania, in 1971. He is a graduate of the US Army War College, the Command and General Staff College, and the Program for National and International Security Studies at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government. His civilian education includes master’s degrees from West Virginia University and Saint Francis University. His military awards include the Defense Distinguished Service Medal, the Legion of Merit, and the Joint Meritorious Service Medal. MARKET: COLUMBUS, OH.
• Major General Vance Coleman, USA (Ret.); enlisted in the Army at 17, a year before President Truman signed the Executive Order ending racial discrimination in the armed forces of the United States. He served in the Korean Conflict, functioning in a variety of positions: Forward Observer, Fire Direction Officer, Executive Officer, Operations Officer, Brigade Commander and Division Commander. His decorations include: the Purple Heart, Bronze Star, Meritorious Service Medal and the Parachutist's Badge. MARKET: PHOENIX, AZ. BOOKING: firstname.lastname@example.org
• Brigadier General Keith H. Kerr, CSMR (Ret.); entered the U. S. Army as a Private at Fort Ord, California, on 21 September 1953. After completing basic and advanced training, he served with the 513th Military Intelligence Group in Germany during the Cold War. He retired from the U.S. Army Reserve in 1986 with the rank of Colonel and was commissioned in the California State Military Reserve of the California National Guard on 15 March 1986. General Kerr is a graduate of the Intelligence Orientation Course, the Imagery Interpretation Course, the Army Intelligence Advance Course, the Special Forces Officer Course, the Civil Affairs Advance Course, the Inspector General Course, the Command and General Staff College, and the U.S. Army War College. He now serves as Chairman of the General Rail Corporation. MARKET: SF BAY AREA, CA. BOOKING: email@example.com
• Captain Joan E. Darrah, USN (Ret.); joined the Navy in 1973 and served as a Naval Intelligence officer. Highlights of her career include attending the Naval War College in 1981. After graduating, she then served as the Aide and Flag Secretary to the President of the Naval War College. Other assignments included Deputy Director of the Human Resources Directorate at the Office of Naval Intelligence and the Intelligence Community Senior Detailer and Community Manager at the Bureau of Naval Personnel. From June 1997 until July 2000, she was assigned as the Chief of Staff and Deputy Commander at the Office of Naval Intelligence. Her final assignment was on the staff of the Director of Naval Intelligence where she was the Officer and Enlisted Community Manager from July 2000 until June 2002 when she retired. Captain Darrah's personal decorations include the Legion of Merit (three awards), Meritorious Service Medal (three awards), the Navy Commendation Medal (three awards), and the Navy Achievement Medal. Darrah was serving in the Pentagon on September 11, 2001. MARKET: WASHINGTON, DC. / VIRGINIA. BOOKING: firstname.lastname@example.org
• Colonel Stewart Bornhoft, USA, (Ret.); graduated from West Point in 1969, and initially reported to Fort Benning, Georgia, to become Airborne and Ranger qualified, before serving in the 47th Combat Engineer Battalion (Airborne) at Fort Bragg, NC. He then volunteered for Vietnam, where he was a Platoon Leader and Company Executive Officer. He volunteered to extend his combat tour and was given command of D Company, 26th Combat Engineer Battalion and then HHC of the 196th Infantry Brigade, before returning to Fort Bragg as a Battalion Adjutant. Bornhoft retired in September 1995, and his awards include the Legion of Merit (with 3 Oak Leaf Clusters), the Bronze Star (with OLC), the Meritorious Service Medal (with 2 OLCs), the Air Medal (with 3 awards), the Army Commendation Medal (with 2 OLCs), the National Defense Service Medal, the Vietnam Service Medal, the Humanitarian Service Medal, the Parachutist Badge and the Ranger Tab. MARKET: SAN DIEGO, CA. BOOKING: email@example.com
• Captain April F. Heinze, USN (Ret.); a 1982 NROTC graduate of the University of Virginia’s school of engineering. Following her commissioning as a Navy Civil Engineer Corps officer, she served on active duty for more than 23 years. Heinze served on several senior staffs including the Commander, U.S. Atlantic Fleet, Naval Facilities Engineering Command and the Office of the Secretary of Defense where she was responsible for various base operations support policies and programs. During her Navy career, April was a leader in the integration of women into the military’s civil engineer and construction forces. In 1989, she became one of the first women officers assigned to a Navy Construction Battalion (SEABEE) and in 1990 she deployed to Saudi Arabia as a Company Commander during the first week of Desert Shield to support the Marines Expeditionary Force. Captain Heinze's military awards include the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, three Meritorious Service Medals, three Navy Commendation Medals and the Navy Achievement Medal. MARKET: SAN DIEGO, CA. BOOKING: firstname.lastname@example.org
• Lt. Col. Victor Fehrenbach, USAF (Active Duty); a decorated aviator and was notified that his commander was seeking to discharge him under “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” in September 2008. Lt. Col. Fehrenbach is only 10 months from reaching his 20-year retirement in September 2011. Throughout his distinguished service he has attained nine Air Medals and currently works on desk duty at Mountain Home Air Force Base in Idaho awaiting the results of more than two years of investigations and discharge proceedings. MARKET: WASHINGTON, DC. BOOKING: email@example.com
• Commander Zoe Dunning, USN (Ret.); is the Co-Chair of the SLDN board of directors. In January 1993, while a Lieutenant in the U.S. Navy Reserves, Dunning publicly came out as a lesbian at a political rally outside the gates of California's Moffett Field. Dunning won her subsequent two-and-a-half year legal battle to remain in the Navy Reserves. The Navy promoted her twice and awarded her the Navy & Marine Corps Achievement Medal and the Navy & Marine Corps Commendation Medal since her coming out. She retired in June 2007 and holds the distinction of serving her country as an openly gay member of the U.S. military for over 13 years. She currently serves on Senator Barbara Boxer's (D-CA) Service Academy Selection Committee. She is a United States Naval Academy graduate, and received her MBA from Stanford University's Graduate School of Business. MARKET: SAN FRANCISCO, CA. BOOKING: firstname.lastname@example.org
• Former Major Mike Almy, USAF; a decorated service member who testified before the U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee about his discharge in 2006. If “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” (DADT) ended today, he’d re-enlist tomorrow. The military searched his personal emails while deployed in Iraq during a routine computer maintenance check. Almy’s command asked him his sexual orientation based on content from the emails. Per the investigation, Almy made no statement of his homosexuality – even after being asked by his superiors. He is one of six officers selected from the entire Air force to attend Professional Military Education at Quantico, Virginia. Deployed to the Middle East four times. In last deployment, I led a team of nearly 200 men and women to operate and maintain the systems used to control the air space over Iraq; the unit came under daily mortar attacks. MARKET: WASHINGTON, DC / VIRGINIA. BOOKING: email@example.com
• Former Major Jeffery Cleghorn, USA; is a 1984 distinguished military graduate of North Georgia College in Dahlonega, where he received a B.A. in Political Science. After graduation, he received a commission in the United States Army as an Officer in the Army’s Military Intelligence Corps. Jeff’s military career included overseas assignments in South Korea and Germany, and stateside assignments in Arizona and South Carolina. Jeff spent his final years in the Army working in Washington, D.C., for the Defense Intelligence Agency at the Pentagon, on the Joint Staff (Directorate for Intelligence). His military awards include the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, the Joint Staff Commendation Medal and the Parachutist Badge. He is a Named Partner with the law firm of Kitchens New Cleghorn, LLC, with offices in Atlanta and Athens, Georgia. MARKET: ATLANTA, GA. BOOKING: firstname.lastname@example.org
• Former Captain Thomas T. Carpenter, USMC; a distinguished military graduate of the class of 1970 of the U.S. Naval Academy. After completing infantry training at The Basic School in 1971, he was assigned to the Naval Aviation Training Command and later designated a Naval Aviator. While on active duty he accumulated over 2500 hours in the A-4 Skyhawk. Carpenter resigned his commission in 1976, at the rank of Captain and later joined the Marine Reserves. From 1978 through 1983, Tom was a pilot for Continental Airlines, flying the Boeing 727. MARKET: LOS ANGELES, CA. BOOKING: email@example.com
• Former Captain Anthony Woods, USA; a graduate of West Point and Harvard's Kennedy School of Government, Woods deployed to Iraq twice as a platoon leader between 2004 and 2006 where he earned the Bronze Star for his service. In 2008, Anthony informed his chain of command he wanted to continue serving in the military but no longer intended to abide by the discriminatory "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy. After a six-month investigation, Anthony was discharged from the military in December of 2008 for violating the law. Since then, Anthony has run for an open U.S. House seat in a special election from his home district in California. MARKET: WASHINGTON, DC / VIRGINIA. BOOKING: firstname.lastname@example.org
• Former Lieutenant Paula Neira, USNR; graduated, with distinction, from the United States Naval Academy in 1985 and served as a Surface Warfare Officer on active duty and as a reservist. During Operation Desert Storm, she participated in mine warfare combat operations as a task group staff officer. After leaving the Navy in 1991, she became a registered nurse, specializing in emergency and trauma nursing. Graduating from law school in 2001, she is a member of the Maryland Bar, a former SLDN staff attorney, and a recognized expert in sexual minority/ military issues. MARKET: WASHINGTON, DC / BALTIMORE, MD. BOOKING: email@example.com
• Former Lieutenant Junior Grade Jenny Kopfstein, USN; a decorated service member who testified before the U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee about her discharge in 2002. If “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” (DADT) ended today, she’d re-enlist tomorrow. After her discharge, she used her smarts to go to law school. On October 12, 2000 - the day the USS COLE was attacked – her ship was placed on alert. Her Captain personally chose her to serve as the Officer of the Deck while the ship was ordered to put to sea immediately. As she testified: In a state of alert, no one cared a bit about her sexual orientation, even though they knew about it as she was already under investigation. Her Captain wrote in a Fitness Report in 2002 that her “sexual orientation has not disrupted good order and discipline onboard USS SHILOH.” MARKET: SAN DIEGO, CA. BOOKING: firstname.lastname@example.org
• Former Sergeant First Class Stacy Vasquez, USA; started her career with the United States Army in 1991, immediately after high school. Vasquez was later selected as the Distinguished Honor Graduate from both recruiting school and advanced non-commissioned officer paralegal studies courses. During Vasquez’ annual evaluation in 2002, she was cited as the top recruiter in the Army and told she should be promoted ahead of her peers. In January 2003, Vasquez’s commander told her that a co-worker’s wife had seen Vasquez kissing a woman at a club in Dallas. She was discharged from the Army in August 2003. MARKET: WASHINGTON, DC. BOOKING: email@example.com
• Former Sergeant Darren Manzella, USA; entered into the Army in 2002 and served for more than six years including two deployments to Iraq and Kuwait. Though open to his commanders and colleagues since 2006, he was discharged in 2008 under Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell after appearing on 60 Minutes speaking about serving in the combat zone as an openly gay Soldier. At the time of his discharge Manzella served as the Medical Liaison Officer for the First Cavalry Division. He is now a director in the Advancement Department at the University of Rochester in New York. MARKET: ROCHESTER, NY. BOOKING: firstname.lastname@example.org
• Former Air Force Staff Sergeant David Hall, USAF; a decorated service member who served five years enlisted in the United States Air Force. He was selected as a Distinguished Graduate from Airman Leadership School before he attended AFROTC at the University of Alaska, Anchorage. He was dis-enrolled from AFROTC after a female cadet went to his commander and told them he was gay. Hall was ranked first in his class and had received a pilot slot when he was discharged in August 2002. MARKET: WASHINGTON, DC. Booking: email@example.com
• SPANISH SPEAKER: Former Lance Cpl. Danny Hernandez, USMC; enlisted in the Marine Corps in 2008 and achieved the rank of Lance Corporal before being discharged earlier this year. Before beginning his undergraduate studies he was awarded a four year ROTC scholarship to Oklahoma University, but declined it to attend Texas A&M. Danny spent four years in ROTC there, obtaining the rank of Commanding Officer his senior year, and was months away from attending Officer Candidate School as a college graduate. He is fully committed to returning to military service after the repeal of DADT. MARKET: WASHINGTON, DC. BOOKING: firstname.lastname@example.org
• Former Private First Class Raymond W. Smith, USA; and former Chairman of Verizon (formerly Bell Atlantic) until he retired at the end of 1998, topping off a 40-year career that included several positions of increasing responsibility. Smith was named Chairman of Rothschild North America in 1999 and founded Arlington Capital Partners the same year. Over the years, he has been active in many civic, charitable, and cultural organizations and has been a board member of Westinghouse, CBS, Viacom, First Union, U S Airways, Carnegie Corporation of New York, The Rockefeller Foundation, Lincoln Center and the Philadelphia Orchestra. He is currently the Co-Chairman of the James Madison Council of the Library of Congress. MARKET: WASHINGTON, DC, NEW YORK, NY. BOOKING: email@example.com
• Former Cadet Sara Isaacson, USA ROTC; served as a Cadet in the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill Army ROTC program from August 2006 until January 2010. She ranked in the top 15% of all Cadets during the Leader Development and Assessment Course 2009 at Ft. Lewis, WA and received her first choice branch of Air Defense Artillary. After coming to terms with her sexuality late in 2009, Isaacson came out to her Commander in January 2010 in order to uphold her integrity and was subsequently dis-enrolled due to DADT. MARKET: CHAPEL HILL, NC. BOOKING: firstname.lastname@example.org
• Elizabeth Shirey, civilian planning to pursue military career; graduated magna cum laude from Wellesley College in 2010. She currently serves as SLDN’s Grassroots/Policy Advocate and formerly led Wellesley’s LGBT political advocacy group. She served as legal intern for the USAF Judge Advocate General (JAG) Corps on Bolling AFB in 2009, and interned on Capitol Hill for Rep. Doris Matsui (D-CA) in 2008. If DADT is repealed, she plans to enroll in ROTC during law school and pursue a career path as a military lawyer with USAF JAG. MARKET: WASHINGTON, DC. BOOKING: email@example.com
SLDN FREE HOTLINE: Gay and lesbian service members with questions on repeal are urged to contact the SLDN hotline to speak with a staff attorney: 202-328-3244 x100.
KEY POINTS FOR REPEAL ADVOCATES:
• The Senate needs to put funding the nation’s defense and troops ahead of tax cuts for the wealthiest in our nation. Let’s be clear: The defense bill is being held hostage by those who are putting tax cuts ahead of the nation’s defense.
• The National Defense Authorization Act, which includes the repeal provisions, must be called up in the Senate, debated, and passed before Congress leaves for the year.
• The immediate task for Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.) will be to find 60 senators to stop a filibuster threatened by Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.). No debate on the merits of the bill will happen unless a handful of Republicans break off and support funding our troops.
• If the 42 GOP senators — including several who support repeal of don’t ask — stand with their party on process and procedure, their vote will be an endorsement of the discrimination that has cost 14,000 men and women their jobs and threatened our country’s national security by discharging mission-critical service members.
• With the release of the Pentagon’s report last week, we know that 92 percent of service members are just fine working with their gay, lesbian and bisexual colleagues. Their attitudes mirror those of most Americans, including our commander in chief, the secretary of defense, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and a majority of the service chiefs.
THE PENTAGON REPORT HEARINGS / MCCAIN:
• A clear majority of the service chiefs support repeal this year. There is some initial resistance that has been voiced – but the Chiefs know it’s their job to lead and implement this change when the Senate acts. Fortunately, the chiefs have made it clear they will do precisely that.
o Mullen: “I would not recommend repeal of this law if I did not believe in my soul that it was the right thing to do for our military, for our nation and for our collective honor.”
o Cartwright: “Character and appeal of the [military] lies in its equality, opportunity, and the inclusive character of our organizational ethos.”
o Casey: Repeal would not keep us from “accomplishing our worldwide missions - including combat ops.”
o Roughead: Repeal “will not fundamentally change who we are and what we do.”
o Papp: Forcing service members to compromise core values to continue to serve “is a choice they should not have to make.”
• The hearings were bad for John McCain. No one made a more powerful argument for repeal than Admiral Mullen. In a measured, methodical fashion Admiral Mullen addressed and destroyed each one of McCain’s irrational fears about open service.
• McCain continues to ignore the findings of the report that showed 92% of troops are fine working with gay service members. As witnessed in the hearing, McCain is growing more and more out of touch with the military’s top leadership as well as a majority of the force. It is now painfully transparent that for McCain, it’s all politics.
• If Senator McCain was putting the military and national security first, he’d follow the recommendations of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs as well as the Defense Secretary. Rather than putting troops on the ground and the mission first, McCain is marching in lock step, not with Mullen and Gates, but with his caucus to extend the Bush era tax cuts.
KEY REPORT POINTS:
• When asked about the actual experience of serving in a unit with a co-worker who they believed was gay or lesbian, 92% stated that the unit’s “ability to work together” was “very good,” “good,” or “neither good nor poor.”
• 89% for those in ARMY combat arms units and 84% for those in MARINE combat arms units.
• When asked about how having a service member in their immediate unit who said he or she is gay would affect the unit’s ability to “work together to get the job done,” 70% of Service members predicted it would have a positive, mixed, or no effect.
• When asked “in your career, have you ever worked in a unit with a co-worker that you believed to be homosexual,” 69% of Service members reported that they had.
• In communications with gay and lesbian current and former service members, the CRWG repeatedly heard a patriotic desire to serve and defend the Nation, subject to the same rules as everyone else.
• The CRWG is convinced that our military can do this, even during this time of war. They do not underestimate the challenges in implementing a change in the law, but neither should we underestimate the ability of our extraordinarily dedicated Service men and women to adapt to such change and continue to provide our Nation with the military capability to accomplish any mission.
• The CRWG found “the risk of repeal of don’t ask, don’t tell to overall military effectiveness is low.”
• The CRWG believes this to be the “largest, most Comprehensive review of a personnel policy matter which the department of defense has ever undertaken.”
WARNING TO SERVICE MEMBERS:
• As the U.S. Senate is poised to take up repeal, service members still cannot come out. Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (SLDN), a national, legal services and policy organization dedicated to ending “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” (DADT), has a free, confidential hotline for anyone with questions or concerns. Hotline information and a warning to service members can also be found at www.SLDN.org/StillAtRisk (the hotline is 202-328-3244 x100.)
• A general just approved the separation of an SLDN client serving overseas in the U.S. Air Force. This service member now faces an administrative separation board. If the discharge moves forward, the fate of the service member’s career will ultimately fall to Secretary Michael B. Donley, Dept. of Defense General Counsel Jeh Johnson, and Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel Dr. Clifford L. Stanley.
CALL THE SENATE NOW:
• Congress needs to catch up and the Senate should immediately act to on repeal.
• A Pentagon report shows a clear majority of service members are okay serving side by side with their gay comrades. Sen. John McCain, however, rejects those findings and insists repeal language be stripped out of the defense bill.
• It is critical that repeal advocates be urging their senators to act in December to pass legislation repealing ‘Don’t Ask’ before Congress goes home for the year. ACTION ALERT LINK / LANGUAGE BELOW IF ON RADIO/TV: http://bit.ly/dBKRcd
Call both your senators at the Capitol switchboard at (202) 224-3121 and urge them to:
1. Stop using gay and lesbian service members as political pawns.
2. Stand up for national security and all our troops.
3. Pass the defense bill during the Senate’s lame-duck session in December.
• As Sec. Gates said, we don’t want to be fighting this in the courts -- but if the legislature doesn’t do its job and repeal the law, advocates will continue an aggressive campaign in the judicial branch.
• Service members need finality. We urge the U.S. Senate to act swiftly on repeal now.
THE KEY FLOOR VOTES TO WATCH:
• There will be at least two key votes to watch for when the Senate acts.
• THE FIRST VOTE: SLDN and other repeal advocates are working to shore up a filibuster proof majority, 60 Senate votes, to proceed again to consideration of the NDAA.
• Even with a filibuster proof 60-vote majority, SLDN and our repeal allies will be closely watching for any crippling amendments offered on the floor and a “motion to strike” that could allow repeal opponents to remove the repeal language from the defense bill.
• THE SECOND VOTE: Sen. John McCain is expected to make an attempt to strike repeal from the larger defense bill. SLDN is working closely with Senators Joseph Lieberman and Carl Levin to guard against any attempts to strike repeal or weaken its provisions.
• EXAMPLE OF A HARMFUL AMENDMENT: For instance, we will vigorously oppose any amendment to expand the certification process in the “compromise." Opponents of open service may be considering an amendment that would require all of the Joint Chiefs to sign off on the certification process. This killer amendment is designed to delay open service for years.
ACTIVE-DUTY SERVICE MEMBERS: Gay and lesbian service members OR those interested in signing up to serve and have questions may contact the SLDN hotline to speak with a staff attorney: 202-328-3244 x100. SLDN re-issued its warning to active-duty service members, including those in the reserves and the national guard, to know they’re at risk. Anyone in the armed forces with questions or concerns should call our hotline or visit: www.SLDN.org/StillAtRisk.