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SLDN Releases Letters Sent to 2012 Presidential Hopefuls Barbour, Huckabee & Pawlenty

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: April 4, 2011
Zeke Stokes: (202) 621-5406 or zeke@sldn.org
Paul DeMiglio: (202) 621-5408 or paul@sldn.org

SLDN Releases Letters Sent to 2012 Presidential Hopefuls Barbour, Huckabee & Pawlenty
Sarvis: “This isn’t – and never has been – a partisan political issue”

WASHINGTON, D.C. – On the heels of last week’s House Armed Services military personnel subcommittee hearing and amid growing concerns about opponents of open service who seek to undo last year’s repeal, Servicemembers Legal Defense Network today released the full text of letters sent last week to three expected 2012 presidential candidates who have voiced support for “repealing the repeal” of the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” law passed in December by Congress and signed by the President. Army Veteran and SLDN Executive Director Aubrey Sarvis issued letters to Governor Haley Barbour (R-MS), former Governor Mike Huckabee (R-AR), and former Governor Tim Pawlenty (R-MN) calling on them to abandon their call.

“Perhaps since you were not in Congress during the past few years, you did not follow the debate about whether to repeal ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,’” wrote Sarvis in the letters. “This isn’t – and never has been – a partisan political issue. Many Republicans in the Senate and House voted for repeal last year. Without them, the legislation would not have been enacted.”

Sarvis said a Department of Defense survey of troops conducted last year was the largest and most comprehensive survey ever conducted by the U.S. military and showed that a majority of the forces believed that repealing the law was either positive or neutral.

“The survey demonstrated that this pattern of support was consistent across all major areas of interest, including unit cohesion, unit effectiveness, unit readiness, and personal morale – and among all groups, including deployed combat units,” said Sarvis.

“I hope that you can review the record that was before Congress last year when it was considering this legislation. I’m confident that if you do, you will agree that Congress did the right thing when it voted overwhelmingly to scrap this militarily harmful and discriminatory policy,” Sarvis wrote in the letter.

Concluded Sarvis: “We shouldn’t be debating whether or not to turn back the clock an issue that has already been decided by the Congress, the President, and the American people. We should be accelerating the timeline for certification and full repeal and working toward full equality for all LGBT service members.”

To read the letters in their entirety, click on the links below:

Letter to Governor Haley Barbour (R-MS) 

Letter to former Governor Mike Huckabee (R-AR) 

Letter to former Governor Tim Pawlenty (R-MN) 

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STILL AT RISK: Despite the President signing the bill authorizing repeal of DADT, it is still unsafe for service members to come out until 60 days after certification by the President, Secretary of Defense, and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Warning to service members: www.SLDN.org/StillAtRisk

SLDN FREE HOTLINE: Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender service members with questions are urged to contact the SLDN hotline to speak with a staff attorney: 202-328-3244 x100.

ABOUT SLDN: Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (SLDN) was established in 1993 when “Don’t Ask” originally passed. In addition to working on repeal, SLDN offers free, confidential legal services to those impacted by the discriminatory law. Last year the organization received its 10,000th call for assistance to its legal hotline.

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