Today is the first day of the "lame-duck" session of Congress, referring to the last Congressional session held before the newly-elected Congress is seated in January.
It's expected to last about two weeks.
Now is the last chance to see any LGBT-friendly legislation. The farthest along is the repeal of Don't Ask Don't Tell, which has come a long way since last year. It's been passed by the House, it's been ruled unconstitutional by the federal court system, and a study has come out showing that most servicemembers don't mind serving with openly gay soldiers in the least. Cindy McCain has even openly split with her husband on this issue, a rare move for a political spouse.
It's time for Congress to do the right thing: repeal this discriminatory law.
GetEqual and other advocates are holding a series of protests this week, starting this morning with a vigil at the grave of Sgt. Leonard Matlovich. We should all call our Senators to demand that they move this repeal.
This morning at 8:00 a.m. Eastern, GetEQUAL along with veterans and other "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" repeal advocates began a vigil at the gravesite of Sgt. Leonard Matlovich, located on the grounds of the Congressional National Cemetery in Washington, DC.
The vigil, held to coincide with the starting day of the lame-duck session of Congress, sent a clear and frank message to the United States Senate - repeal "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" now.
Of course, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, President Barack Obama, and other Democratic leaders have continually reassured the LGBT community that the legislation would be repealed during the current session of Congress.
The vigil is centering around the gravesite of gay Vietnam Veteran Leonard Matlovich. Matlovich, a recipient of both the Purple Heart and Bronze Star, made headlines in the 1970s after he came out as openly gay and fought to stay in the U.S. Air Force - landing him on the cover of Time Magazine. Matlovich's tombstone at the Congressional National Cemetery is meant to be a memorial to all gay veterans and is inscribed with the well-known phrase: "When I was in the military, they gave me a medal for killing two men and a discharge for loving one."
This vigil is one in a series of actions GetEQUAL will engage in throughout the week to pressure the Senate to repeal the discriminatory "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" law. The lame-duck session began this morning, and is expected to run approximately two weeks - or until leadership has the votes to call adjournment. With Congressional leaders such as John McCain and Carl Levin in discussions over the "Don't Ask Don't Tell" policy, national activists across party lines are making their voices heard.
We should all call our Senators and demand action on DADT repeal. The number for Congress is 202-224-3121 -- tell the operator your zip code and you will be connected with your Senators.
Disclosure: The author is on the Board of Directors of GetEqual.