by Elizabeth Shirey, the Grassroots/Policy Advocate for the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network.
Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (SLDN), a national, legal services and policy organization dedicated to ending "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" (DADT), with our repeal coalition partner the Human Rights Campaign, the nation's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender civil rights organization, jointly announced today a new grassroots campaign to increase support and to press for passage of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" repeal in the U.S. Senate.
Your help is critical. This nationwide campaign will mobilize grassroots supporters of equality across the country. Too many times when I mention that I work on the repeal of DADT, I hear the following response from repeal supporters: "Oh, right! I heard something about that a few months ago. So…what's going on with that?"
As you may know, the Defense Authorization Act – which contains the repeal amendment – passed the U.S. House and the Senate Armed Services Committee back in May. The next step toward repeal is the full Senate vote, which could come just after Labor Day.
We need supporters to contact their senators and tell them to repeal "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" and follow the lead of Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin (D-MI) who will be managing the defense bill on the floor. It is critical that we beat back any filibuster threat, defeat attempts to strike repeal, and stop any corrosive amendments.
With the combined resources of HRC and SLDN, we'll be in a strong position to put maximum pressure on the Senate as we move toward this vote for repeal. Now is the moment where we need your help and your teaspoons.
We need every person on board as we try to flood senators' offices with pro-equality voices and drown out the ever-present opposition. There are many ways to get involved, including writing and calling your senators or participating in an in-district visit over the August recess. In-district meetings are a very personal way to tell both your senators why you support repeal and why this step toward equality is so important for our country.
DADT affects the lives of countless active-duty service members, veterans, and their dependents, discharged under this law. Don't let bigots call the shots – now is your chance to weigh in on this issue with major decision-makers. Let's get this done!