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Veterans Lobby Day against DADT is set for May

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WASHINGTON — Servicemembers United and the Human Rights Campaign today announced expanded plans for a national Veterans Lobby Day to be held on May 10-11 in Washington as Congress begins to focus on the defense authorization bill – the likely vehicle for “Don’t Ask, Don’ Tell” (DADT) repeal.

The lobby day, which will bring hundreds of gay and lesbian veterans and their straight veteran allies from around the nation to Capitol Hill, is expected to be the largest lobbying event on “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” to date.

“The next 30 days are going to be absolutely critical in the push for repeal of the ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ law this year,” said Alexander Nicholson, a former U.S. Army interrogator who was discharged under ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ and the current executive director of Servicemembers United.

“We need every supportive veteran who is able to come to Washington to join us here on May 10 and 11 for this final push, and we are thrilled to have such an unprecedented coalition of pro-repeal and pro-military organizations joining us in this effort.”

Jarrod Chlapowski, the military spokesperson for the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), noted that the lobby day is drawing numerous groups together.

“This broad coalition coming together to urge Congress to end ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ represents a powerful voice for repeal this year,” he said. “A wide majority of Americans, including Democrats, Republicans and Independents recognize this discriminatory law hurts our national security and fails to live up to our values. The time to end ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ is now.”

Nearly 14,000 Americans have been abruptly fired from the U.S. military because of the ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ law – including more than 800 mission critical specialists.

Servicemembers United and HRC have been jointly engaged in extensive field and grass-roots organizing work across the country to lay the groundwork for repeal through initiatives like the “Voices of Honor” Tour, which organized in key states to highlight the costs of DAD and promote the voices of gay and straight veterans who support repeal.

Iraq War veteran Rep. Patrick Murphy, D-Pa., and Sen. Joe Lieberman, I-Conn., are championing this legislative repeal effort on Capitol Hill.

Joining Servicemembers United and HRC in partnership on the event are:

Veterans/military organizations

American Veterans for Equal Rights
Citadel Gay and Lesbian Alliance
Knights Out
Service Academy Gay and Lesbian Alumni Association
Servicemembers Legal Defense Network
Service Women’s Action Network
VoteVets
Young Democrats of America Veterans Caucus

Other organizations

Alaskans Together for Equality
Basic Rights Oregon
Citizens for Equal Protection – Nebraska
Courage Campaign
Equal Rights Washington
Equality Arizona
Equality Federation
Equality Florida
Equality Hawaii
Equality Illinois
Equality Maine
Equality New Mexico
Equality South Dakota
Equality Texas
Equality Utah
Equality Virginia
Fairness West Virginia
Florida Together
Garden State Equality
Georgia Equality
GOProud
Indiana Equality
Log Cabin Republicans
MassEquality
National Black Justice Coalition
Ocean Grove United
One Iowa
OutFront Minnesota
Progressive Leadership Alliance of Nevada
Save Dade
Stonewall Democrats
Tennessee Equality Project
Unity Coalition
Vermont Freedom to Marry Task Force

About Servicemembers United

Servicemembers United, a non-profit and non-partisan organization, is the nation’s largest organization of gay and lesbian troops and veterans and their allies. Based in Washington, D.C., Servicemembers United actively engages in education, advocacy, and lobbying on issues affecting the gay military, veteran, and defense community.

About Human Rights Campaign

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.

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