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SLDN Twentieth Annual National Dinner a Near Sell-out!

White House Senior Advisor Valerie Jarrett Set to Keynote Historic Event on Saturday in Washington, D.C.

For immediate release: Wednesday, February 29, 2012
Contact: Zeke Stokes at (202) 621-5406 or

(Washington, D.C.) Army Veteran and SLDN Executive Director Aubrey Sarvis announced today that the organization's historic Twentieth Annual National Dinner scheduled for Saturday, March 3, 2012 in Washington, D.C., is nearly sold out and that a White House senior adviser will deliver the evening's keynote address. Valerie Jarrett, Senior Advisor to President Barack Obama and Chair of the White House Council on Women and Girls, was a key ally in the fight to repeal the discriminatory "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" (DADT) law, and will deliver remarks during the opening segment of the event.

"This is the first time we have gathered for the SLDN national dinner since the repeal of 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' last September, and we are honored to welcome a pivotal figure and tireless supporter of equality from the White House to celebrate this historic occasion with us." said SLDN Executive Director Aubrey Sarvis.

Prior to joining the Obama Administration, Jarrett was Chief Executive Officer of The Habitat Company. She also served as Co-Chair of the Obama-Biden Presidential Transition Team, and Senior Advisor to Obama's presidential campaign. She has held positions in both the public and private sector, including Chairman of the Chicago Transit Board, Commissioner of Planning and Development for the City of Chicago, and Deputy Chief of Staff for Mayor Richard M. Daley. She also practiced law with two private law firms and has served as a director of corporate and not-for-profit boards, including Chairman of the Board of the Chicago Stock Exchange, Director of the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, and Chairman of the University of Chicago Medical Center Board of Trustees.

The sixteen plaintiffs in SLDN's federal lawsuit filed in October 2011 shortly after the repeal of DADT also will be featured at the event. The suit, on behalf of legally married gay and lesbian service members and veterans, seeks the same recognition, support, and benefits for their families that their straight, married peers receive. It challenges the so-called "Defense of Marriage Act" (DOMA) and three titles in U.S. code that preclude equal benefits for married LGB service members. Recently, the Department of Justice indicated that it would not defend the equal protection challenge to Section 3 of DOMA and two other provisions at issue in this case, in which there is currently a sixty-day stay.

MSNBC anchor Thomas Roberts will emcee the event, which begins with a 6:30 p.m. reception, followed by dinner at 7:30 p.m. For more information about the event, please visit Media interested in covering the event may RSVP to Zeke Stokes at

A limited number of tickets are still available. To purchase, visit


ABOUT SLDN: Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (SLDN) is a non-partisan, non-profit, legal services and policy organization dedicated to bringing about full LGBT equality to America's military and ending all forms of discrimination and harassment of military personnel on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. SLDN provides free and direct legal assistance to service members and veterans affected by the repealed "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" law and the prior regulatory ban on open service, as well as those currently serving who may experience harassment or discrimination. Since 1993, our in-house legal team has responded to more than 11,000 requests for assistance.

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: Call 1-800-538-7418 or 202-328-3244 x100.


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