Grassroots DADT Repeal Campaign Begins
WASHINGTON – The Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender civil rights organization, and Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (SLDN), a national, legal services and policy organization dedicated to ending “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” (DADT), jointly announced a new grassroots campaign to increase support and to press for passage of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” repeal in the U.S. Senate as well as passage of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) in the U.S. House. This nationwide campaign will mobilize grassroots supporters of equality across the country through in-district meetings as well as a call-in and email campaign.
“We need supporters to contact their senators and tell them to repeal ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ and follow the lead of Chairman Carl Levin who will be managing the defense bill on the floor,” said Aubrey Sarvis, Army veteran and executive director for Servicemembers Legal Defense Network. “It is critical that we beat back any filibuster threat, defeat attempts to strike repeal, and defeat any crippling amendments. Senators need to hear from us now, especially in the 10 key states where our combined SLDN and HRC field teams are working now.”
“As we approach the waning days of this Congressional session, we must continue to demand immediate action on critical legislation,” said HRC President Joe Solmonese. “LGBT voters and our allies will be keenly aware of Congressional action or inaction as the November elections approach.”
HRC and SLDN’s efforts will be specifically focused on 10 states with key lawmakers whose votes on DADT repeal are critical: Arkansas, Indiana, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, and Virginia. HRC will also engage the LGBT community and our allies in those states on ENDA in addition to on-the-ground work for ENDA in North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Texas. Supporters of equality are encouraged to meet with Representatives and Senators while they are in their districts and states for the August Congressional recess.
To participate, individuals can sign up at countdown2010.hrc.org. There, they’ll find downloadable meeting toolkits, videos on in-district meetings and information on how to schedule a meeting and report back on how it went.
“LGBT people and our allies can make a real difference by making their voices heard face-to-face and in the districts where they live,” added Solmonese. “Many of us are frustrated with the pace of progress and this is a way to get involved to make change happen.”
The Human Rights Campaign is America’s largest civil rights organization working to achieve lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality. By inspiring and engaging all Americans, HRC strives to end discrimination against LGBT citizens and realize a nation that achieves fundamental fairness and equality for all.
Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (www.sldn.org) is a national, non-profit legal services and policy organization dedicated to ending “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” A journalists’ guide is available here.