Tonight, National Stonewall Democrats commend President Barack Obama for calling for the end of the policy known as “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” which bans gays and lesbians from serving openly in the military. We are concerned that President Obama did not address workplace discrimination during his first State of the Union address to Congress.
Human Rights Campaign:
With the President’s leadership, now it is up to Congress to act. We’re rolling out a new strategic campaign to do exactly that – put an end to the discriminatory law that’s forced thousands of lesbian and gay members of the military to lie about who they are or face losing their jobs. We’ve spent months designing a plan to pass legislation which repeals DADT. The plan will include organizing veterans across the country, generating media coverage in key markets and building focused campaigns in targeted states that will be critical to securing the final votes in the House and Senate. First step: pushing legislation through the House by building a well-spring of support from representatives, while laying the groundwork for a critical fight in the Senate. Help us capitalize on the President’s pledge tonight by asking your representative and senators to move quickly to repeal DADT. Tomorrow morning when Congress returns to work, we want to make sure their inboxes are flooded with emails echoing the President’s call to repeal DADT.
We have heard promises before about ending ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ and we welcome the President’s statement tonight that the time has finally come to fulfill that promise. Very little has changed since Lambda Legal represented Colonel Margarethe Cammermeyer 18 years ago after she was discharged for being a lesbian. Changing this discriminatory policy is long overdue. The military is our nation’s largest employer and this government sanctioned discrimination must end. We will continue to advocate for the repeal of DADT so that gay and lesbian services members and their families can serve openly and with the same support afforded to other military families.
National Gay & Lesbian Task Force:
President Obama tonight vowed this year to work with Congress and the military to finally repeal the reprehensible ban on openly lesbian, gay and bisexual service members. While we know the State of the Union speech aims to present broad visions, the next time President Obama speaks to or about our community, he must provide a concrete blueprint for his leadership and action moving forward — this includes his willingness to stop the discharges happening on his watch until Congress can fulfill its responsibility to overturn the law. The time for broad statements is over. The time to get down to business is overdue. We wish we had heard him speak of concrete steps tonight.
We appreciate President Obama reiterating his commitment to repeal Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, but words do not end discrimination – actions do,” said Equality California Executive Director Geoff Kors. “We call on President Obama to immediately cease discharging openly lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender service members and to take a stand for equality in the military. Thousands of LGBT service members have bravely served our nation, and they deserve the same protections as all Americans. We urge President Obama and Congress to act swiftly to overturn this discriminatory policy.
NOTE: All of the above quotes were delivered via press release. Expanded commentary may be found on the organizations’ sites.