Organizers with the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network haven’t forgotten the campaign pledge made by President Barack Obama to end “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” On Jan. 12, SLDN launched a national campaign to urge the President to repeal the 1993 law in his annual defense budget currently being drafted.
“There is no good reason why this White House would pass up this opportunity,” said Aubrey Sarvis, SLDN executive director. “It is the logical place to get rid of the discriminatory ban. We urge the President to make good on his words on the campaign trail, as well as those said last October when he emphatically declared, ‘I will end Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.’”
SLDN’s call to action includes a full-page letter, “Mr. President, Lead the Way,” published in Roll Call, the Capitol Hill newspaper. The letter reminds the White House that “to delay [the DADT repeal] another year is to stand aside and okay the daily firing of service members merely because they are gay. ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ is employment discrimination, and there is no place for it anywhere in our government.” The letter also urges Congress to repeal DADT. “If you [Mr. President] urge Congress and the American people to join you, we can win this battle. But if you do not include repeal in your defense budget, it will be tough to win repeal this year.”
Nearly 190 members of the House of Representatives are already co-sponsors of the Military Readiness Enhancement Act (HR 1283), the bill that repeals “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” and replaces it with a nondiscrimination policy. – by Nancy Ford