Dr. Jillian T. Weiss

Lame Duck Congress: Fulfill Your Promise On DADT Repeal

Filed By Dr. Jillian T. Weiss | November 15, 2010 10:00 AM | comments

Filed in: Politics

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Barack Obama, and other Democratic leaders have continually reassured the LGBT community that the legislation would be repealed during the current session of Congress.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.

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Recently read Cindy did NOT split here. What a nice fresh target for GetEQUAL methinks.

GetEQUAL has spent the last year trying to "embarrass, humiliate, shame or irritate politicians into submission" and it has been a complete waste of time, money and attention.

These latest stunts are just more of the same. All they have done is alienate our friends and make us look stupid. No Senator is going to change their mind/vote because a few misfits are seeking attention. Plus, imagine Harry Reid actually wanting to be helpful after the silly stunts this year and Choi's "pussy" comment.

GetEQUAL has managed to waste $700,000 and make us look like ignorant toddlers. Many in our community are pursuing thoughtful, considered strategies for the LGBT community. Those efforts are compromised by the self-serving publicity stunts of an organization that has NO PURPOSE.

"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."

That is an ignorant lie.

Reid, Obama or any "other Democratic leaders" never assured or "reassured" any repeal in this session of Congress. None. They didn't "promise" that, either.

You must believe this type of dishonesty may help raise money for GetEQUAL, but it just erases any credibility you may have had. You should retract that statement.

Incorrect and dishonest, Andrew. Not that this is surprising coming from you, of course, but there are, literally, dozens of recordings available online and several widely publicized interviews where democratic leadership did indeed promise such. Many of which included coverage here.

I realize you are wholeheartedly an assimilationist creature of the sort once spoken of by Malcom X, but really -- do you have to lie in such a bald faced way?

Shame on you. You really need to get over this whole being dumped by an ex thing and just move on.

If they said those things, than Jillian can Post them. That shouldn't be difficult.

It's a lie and everyone knows that. You just pop up to insult people - good for you. My comment was directed at Jillian and GetEQUAL - they can ignore it if they choose.

I noticed a certain blonde lady was one of those chained to the fence. How long before there's a quote from Bayard Rustin on PHB?

Tonight Jillians children protested the Common Purpose meeting at the White House. According to Politico:

"the LGBT rights group GetEQUAL will picket tonight's Common Purpose meeting -- an ongoing, low-profile White House outreach effort to liberal activists held at the Capitol Hilton. Protesters will hold signs that read “There’s No Common Purpose Without Equality!” and “What’s the Plan?"

GetEQUAL managing director Heather Cronk said the demonstrators will also be asking Common Cause Purpose members not to attend tonight's meeting in protest of the lack of administration action on Don't Ask repeal.

This was their update:

"David Smith, Vice President of Policy and Strategy for the Human Rights Campaign, Winnie Stachelberg, Sr. VP for External Affairs for CAP; Rea Carey, Executive Director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, were greeted tonight by the protestors and asked to stand with the LGBT community and not attend the meeting. All three of them chose instead to cross the protest line and enter into the hotel. Smith refused saying, “I’m running late”. Also, White House Deputy Chief of Staff Jim Messina was greeted tonight by protestors who chanted to him “Obama, What’s Your Plan?” and “Keep Your Promise!”

These meetings are about conversation and communication - of course GetEQUAL is protesting that. Their stunts are not intended to create progress, they are just trying to get attention so the can raise money. We should continue to IGNORE them.