The Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s largest civil rights organization working toward lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender equality, has called on the Pentagon to release their report on how to integrate gays and lesbians into the military immediately. While the authorizing order for the report stipulated that it be sent to Defense Secretary Robert Gates no later than December 1st, leaks indicate that the report is complete and ready to be issued. With time running out and some senators continuing to use the report’s impending release as their excuse, it’s incumbent on the Pentagon to eliminate this as an obstacle to legislative repeal of the unjust and discriminatory law known as “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”
“This report has been ten months in the making. It’s critical that the Pentagon immediately confirm what we have long known: there will be no problem with open service by courageous and well-qualified gay and lesbian service members,” said Joe Solmonese, HRC president. “With the Senate soon turning its attention again to military policy, the results of the Pentagon review should be made available as soon as possible so undecided Senators are well-informed.”
In an interview on Wednesday with ABC News, Secretary Gates admitted that ending DADT is inevitable and advocated for legislative repeal this year: “The question is whether it is done by legislation that allows us to do it in a thoughtful and careful way, or whether it is struck down by the courts… there’s smart ways to do things and there’s stupid ways to do things. And trying to do this all at once and under some kind of [judicial] fiat, I think is not the way to do it.”
Early reports of the report reflect that the military can lift the ban with minimal risk. Nearly 80 percent of the American public believes DADT should be repealed. In spite of these established truths, Senator McCain has threatened a filibuster of the entire National Defense Authorization Act of which DADT repeal is a part. On Thursday, a video of the senator’s high profile wife, Cindy McCain, was released with her publicly disagreeing with her husband on this issue.
In anticipation of Senate action next week, earlier this week, HRC launched an aggressive grassroots campaign that includes field organizers on the ground in eight key states: Alaska, Arkansas, Indiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Ohio, Virginia and West Virginia. On Monday, HRC will place full-page newspaper ads in four key states and launch a nation-wide action alert to its1.3 million-strong email list in all 50 states asking supporters to place calls to their senators. HRC is also using its Facebook page and Twitter followers to get the word out about the importance of calling senators.
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