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SLDN Fights for DADT Repeal

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SLDN Posts Letters from LGBT Soldiers to Encourage Repeal of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’

Illustrating the human toll that Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell (DADT) places on the U.S.’s already strained military force, Servicemembers Legal Defense Network has been posting a daily letter to the President from a person impacted by DADT at its website, sldn.org. “Stories from the Frontlines: Letters to President Barack Obama” underscores the urgent need for congressional action and presidential leadership at this critical point in the fight to repeal DADT, according to SLDN.

An active-duty servicemember returning to Baghdad, who is also under investigation after recently being “outed,” wrote one of these letters.

“Mr. President, my unit is extremely undermanned. We’re working around the clock in Baghdad. My commander informed me that the Army cannot afford to lose me. I was told that they would prepare my discharge paperwork, ‘stick it in a manila envelope, and keep it in a desk—for now.’ One moment they wanted to throw me out and the next they are hiding evidence to keep me in,” said the servicemember in his letter to Obama.

In a May 14 statement to the press, SLDN noted that the President’s most recent transmittal to Congress of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2011, as sent, does not include language repealing DADT. SLDN has been pushing the President to include repeal in his defense budget proposal as a signal the Administration supports repealing the law this year.

“This is [President Obama’s] second defense bill without a call for repeal. But there is still an opportunity for the President to engage, and we hope he will seize it soon,” said Aubrey Sarvis, executive director for SLDN. “We urgently need his help in reconciling the differences between the Pentagon and the Hill on the repeal timeline, and he can also begin asking members of Congress to vote for repeal this year.”

SLDN has issued a national action alert urging members and supporters to call Congressional leaders and the White House and tell them to repeal DADT this year. More info: sldn.org.

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EQUALITY FLORIDA DEMANDS APOLOGY FROM OUTED ANTIGAY ‘EXPERT’

Equality Florida, Florida’s leading organization advocating equality for LGBTs, is demanding an apology from the Florida attorney general for using taxpayer dollars to fund testimony from Family Research Council co-founder George Rekers.

Rekers and a cohort were hired as star witnesses and paid $120,000 by Florida attorney general Bill McCollum to defend Florida’s antigay adoption ban. In a widely circulated story first reported by Miami New Times, Rekers was caught in May with a male prostitute at the Miami airport.

“This latest controversy makes it clear that Florida attorney general Bill McCollum must publicly apologize for wasting taxpayers’ money on the outrageously biased and unscientific testimony,” representatives from Equality Florida said in a statement to the press. “No court should ever again consider George Rekers an ‘expert’ on anything, especially the lives gay people.”

The Miami Herald reported that Rekers testified in court that gay men and lesbians “would have less capability of providing the kind of nurturing and secure emotional environment for children.” Rekers further testified that he favored banning anyone from adopting who had more than 18 sex partners during a lifetime, calling the notion “a very good social policy” in a deposition.

Rekers’ animosity extends beyond the gay community when restricting adopting and fostering children. He said he would also consider banning Native Americans from adopting because research shows that they are also at much higher risk of mental illness and substance abuse. “They would tend to hang around each other,” Rekers testified. “So the children would be around a lot of other Native Americans who are . . . doing the same sorts of things.”

“Rekers, a national ‘ex-gay’ leader, was a fraud long before he was caught in Miami,” Equality Florida’s statement continued. “It is disgraceful that the Florida attorney general used taxpayer dollars to compensate this discredited bigot-for-hire.”—Nancy Ford

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