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SLDN Calls on President Obama to Keep Campaign Promise



FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 27, 2009

CONTACT: Kevin Nix, Director of Communications
202.621.5402 (office) 202.251.5553 (cell)

SLDN Calls on President Obama to Keep Campaign Promise
Pro-military Group Runs Roll Call Ad Urging Him to End Mixed Signals on "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," Avoid Albatross

WASHINGTON, D.C. - As the first national LGBT organization to hold President Obama accountable for promises made during the 2008 campaign, Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (SLDN) tomorrow is running a full-page ad in the Capitol Hill newspaper Roll Call contrasting what Obama said as a candidate on "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" with what are contradictory statements made April 16 by the Pentagon.

"On the campaign trail you said repeatedly the ‘Don't Ask, Don't Tell' law should go," wrote SLDN Executive Director Aubrey Sarvis in the open letter to the president. "But since November, you've been silent. Your Defense Secretary said [twice recently], ‘If we do it,' meaning if the law is repealed. Mr. President, we thought we were talking about how and when to do this, not if."

The Center for Military Readiness, the leading proponent of keeping "don't ask, don't tell and where the grandmother of the far right movement, Phyllis Schlafly, sits on the Board, even sees "mixed signals from the Obama administration."

Sarvis in the letter calls on the President to end the "mixed signals" on repeal. If the White House still favors repeal, Sarvis' letter to the president encourages him to begin speaking out and leading on the issue.

"You are about to submit your administration's defense budget to Congress. This is the logical place to kill ‘don't ask, don't tell.' If you don't, you will soon be approving the firing of men and women for being gay. That infamous law will become your infamous law, your albatross."

"Don't Ask, Don't Tell" is the only federal law on the books today under which gays and lesbians are fired because of their sexual orientation. Almost 13,000 have been discharged since 1994.

The letter concludes by reminding the President, "Gay, lesbian, and bisexual service members are now fighting and dying for their country in two wars. They're making the ultimate sacrifice, just like their straight counterparts. Now, they need you to speak up and lead in getting rid of this shameful law."

In addition to the letter in Roll Call, SLDN will be running ads on Huffington Post asking the President to keep his promise of repeal. Click here to read full text of the Roll Call ad.

Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (www.sldn.org) is a national, non-profit legal services and policy organization dedicated to ending "Don't Ask, Don't Tell." A journalists' guide is available here.

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