May 112010

Today, hundreds of Veterans are in D.C. for a Veterans Lobby Day to end “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” This lobby day was organized to push Congress to include language repealing DADT in the National Defense Authorization Act which is just beginning to be drafted. These vets are voicing what so many of us, including top officials in the Pentagon, believe – it is past time to end this out dated and discriminatory policy.

Some of the veterans are addressing Congress face-to-face today and are telling their personal stories of how DADT has affected their lives. The San Diego Gay & Lesbian News has an excellent profile series on 7 local vets who are speaking to Congress today about their experiences.  One such profile is of Jason Daniel Knight. Knight was discharged from the military not once, but twice, under DADT.

[Knight] would now be the first openly gay member of the active duty forces to serve in a war zone.

For a full year – out in the sand-pit of Kuwait – Knight lived in the close quarters of a big, hot, open “shed,” with 50 bunk beds and 99 other bunk-mates, but no one cared that he was gay.

He got promoted to CT2 (E-5) and gained more accolades and awards. He even served as the Morale, Welfare and Recreation (MWR) representative, organizing interactive and popular social events to boost his fellow sailors, soldiers and marines in the region during downtime.

Knight was now proving that being openly gay was NOT incompatible with military service, even in a war zone. However, his lesson didn’t last for long.

As a Conservative libertarian, USAF veteran, and Hellenic Pagan I fully support the call to repeal Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell and allow Gays to openly serve in our Armed Forces. As a Conservative I think that private matters, such as what consenting adults do with each other, are just that – private – and should be of no concern to the State.

As a veteran, I have served with Airmen that I knew were gay and it didn’t make a bit of difference to me. While I served during Desert Shield/Desert Storm I was under OSI investigation for being gay. I was never sure if the OSI honestly thought I was gay or if they put me under investigation in an attempt to force me to give testimony against my best friend. Unless you have been under an OSI investigation, you have no idea how much pressure can be brought to bear on you. Neither I, nor our fellow Airmen serving in Zaragoza Air Base, gave up one single name to the OSI during the entire 2 year investigation.

As a Hellenic Pagan, I find the justification for discrimination against Gays as being unfit for military service or a detriment to morale laughable. You won’t find a more bad ass group of soldiers in history as the Spartans. Gay relationships and military training were one and the same in Sparta and they sacrificed to Eros before battle to honor those bonds of love and brotherhood.  I don’t think anyone could accuse the Spartans, or any of the other Greek city-states, of having a military that wasn’t ready for battle or had morale issues because their military members engaged in homosexual sex.

I’m not in DC today but I am doing what I can to make my voice heard in Congress. I am participating in a Virtual Lobby Day organized by the Servicemembers United and the Human Rights Campaign.  I will be calling my Senators and Representatives and letting them know that “I support the Veterans Lobby Day that’s happening today and I urge Congress to repeal DADT this year.”

Join us for Virtual Lobby Day this Tuesday May 11.

Set aside a few minutes to make a call to Congress. Help us flood the Congressional switchboard (202-224-3121) with calls this Tuesday, May 11. Tell your reps to “Repeal DADT this year!”

Follow Eric Alva and other vets on Twitter to get real-time updates from our meetings with members of Congress. Just follow Eric Alva (@EricAlvaUSMC), David Hall (@davidhalldc), Mike Almy (@mikealmy), Brian Fricke (@brianfricke), or @HRCBackStory.

Join the conversation on Twitter and call for the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” by including #DADT in your tweets between now and Tuesday.

Become a Fan on Facebook – Stay up to date on the latest DADT & LGBT news on HRC’s Facebook Fan Page.

Help us flood Congress with phone calls TODAY in support of the hundreds of brave men and women meeting with lawmakers right now.

It will only take a few minutes to call your Members of Congress.

Want to make some calls but don’t know what the telephone number is for your Senator or congressperson? Go here for a list of Senate phone numbers and here for a list of Representative’s phone numbers.

  12 Responses to “Veterans Lobby Day to Repeal DADT”

  1. Thanks so much for blogging this! I work at HRC here in DC, I really appreciate this.
    I’m also Pagan and an avid reader of the blog. Thanks again, wish us luck!

  2. Called Sen. Hagan’s office (NC) to endorse an end to DADT; they report she is asking for the repeal. I have gay friends who have served or are now serving who have said that they see DADT being used for retribution and manipulation far more than to report any actual complaints against GLBTs. The policy is unjust and ridiculous enough to gay servicepeople on it’s own; one wonders how many times it’s been used by some petty, spiteful brat with an axe to grind to wreck the lives or careers of the hetero members it pretends to be protecting.

  3. I sincerely hope DADT gets repealed.

    Also, not only were the Spartans A-Okay with homosexuality in the military, the greatest tactician and military commander in history, Alexander the Great, was gay. His relationship with Hephaistion is well recorded, and easily summed up by the Cynic philosphers’ saying “Alexander was never defeated, save by Hephaestion’s thighs.”

  4. Given the tone of the articles that tend to flood the media lately, I’m used to the word “conservative” going hand-in-hand with homophobia. This post is a breath of fresh air, and a pleasant reminder that one’s political leanings are immaterial when it comes to human rights issues.

    • It’s also a reminder that these days using “conservative” and “liberal” to describe someone can be like using “blue” to describe something that is aqua, indigo, or periwinkle.

    • That’s part of what this blog project is about – taking the time to explore and listen to one another and see if that matches or is different from your expectations of any particular group. I know I have learned so much from my fellow bloggers and all of the commentors.

      There are conservative and liberal homophobes and liberal and conservative people who support GLBT rights. I think there is more of a split on this issue by age than there is by political affiliation.

      What else comes into play is this – some of the polling questions used to gauge people’s position on GLBT don’t go deep enough or the responses are mischaracterized by the media when reporting them.

      If a person asked a family member A of mine if s/he thought that homosexuality was a sin – they would answer yes. (Yet that person supports GLBT rights and would list off a whole host of things that s/he does that are sins and doesn’t see it as that big of a deal.)

      Family member B of mine would answer “no – homosexuality is not a sin” (but is not supportive of GLBT rights.)

      Guess which one, if no further questions were asked other than the sin question, would be noted in the poll as supporting GLBT rights?

      If a person were to ask me if I support legislation legalizing Gay marriage – strictly speaking I would say “No.” Not because I don’t support GLBT rights, but because I believe that the State has no business regulating marriage, which is a religious ceremony, for anyone. What the State can regulate are Civil Unions or Domestic Partnerships, which is a legal contract between adults. If people want to have a religious ceremony in addition to the legal document signing – that’s up to them. It’s the difference between a baptism and a birth certificate. The two used to be one in the same, your baptismal record was your birth certificate. Now they aren’t. The same should be done with marriage and Domestic Partnerships/Civil Unions.

      • “I believe that the State has no business regulating marriage, which is a religious ceremony, for anyone.”

        this only bothers me slightly, and for the following reason: If marriage is only the few minutes of the ceremony, there’s a whole lot of smoke with no fire. To me, marriage is every day of the rest of your life after the ceremony.

        The Code of Hammurabi treated marriage as strictly a matter of transfer of property.

  5. I called Congressman Paul Hodes, and Senators Jeanne Shaheen and Judd Gregg. Hodes and Shaheen’s aids were polite where as Gregg’s gave me attitude as soon as I said I supported the repeal of DADT.

    • Look, I could care less if my foxhole partner is Gay, but I will NOT tolerate having to share close quarters with anyone from Tierra Del Fuego. Everybody knows THOSE people are……ah…..well, there’s certainly something wrong with someone from a place with a name like THAT!

  6. I don’t know what “Tierra Del Fuego” is.