This week SLDN launched key initiatives as we forge ahead toward advocating LGBT equality throughout the armed forces. Signing legislation to repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” (DADT) in December was a huge step forward toward ending this law. Much more work is needed, however, before LGBT service members can serve openly with the same benefits and compensation as their straight comrades.
SLDN is moving the conversation forward, and speaking out for LGBT veterans and service members:
- In a letter sent to the White House on Wednesday, SLDN called for President Obama to issue an executive order prohibiting discrimination in the armed forces based on sexual orientation and gender identity. SLDN recommends that the executive order go into effect on the date of DADT repeal, which is 60 days after certification by the President, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Michael Mullen.
- On Monday we sent a letter urging Secretary Gates and Under Secretary Stanley to establish Special Boards that would address issues faced by former service members discharged under DADT and the prior regulatory ban. The Special Boards would help veterans with a range of issues, from those seeking changes to their discharge paperwork to others applying for re-accession.
We also continue to provide free legal counsel to those impacted by “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” serve as a resource to the Pentagon as it prepares to dismantle DADT, and push for timely certification of DADT repeal. Until 60 days after certification, DADT will still be the law of the land and lesbian, gay and bisexual service members will remain at risk.
Your tireless dedication changed the future of the military and the future of our nation when Congress passed and the President signed DADT repeal legislation. With your continued support this year, we will achieve new breakthroughs in equality for LGBT service members.
One way to help SLDN right now is to sign up for our 19th Annual National Dinner – Making History, Moving Forward – on March 19 at the National Building Museum in Washington, DC.
We are excited to announce that Democratic Minority Whip, Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-MD) – an outspoken and passionate advocate in the repeal movement – will deliver the evening’s keynote address. We will also welcome other legislative leaders in addition to veterans and supporters who have worked for years to see the fight for open service come this far.
The gala is less than six weeks away, and seats are selling fast.
Your commitment is needed again as we move forward on the path to full repeal and beyond. Together we will ensure that all patriots can serve the country they love with honor and dignity.
SLDN Development Director
Former Air Force Staff Sergeant