September 17, 2010
(Cross-posted from LGBTPOV)
By Karen Ocamb
Log Cabin Republicans (LCR) met today with the Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC) minority staff to get their view of the world prior to the scheduled consideration of the FY2011 NDAA. Per the SASC minority staff, there remain enough votes (presumably at least 60) for passage of DADT repeal as well the entire NDAA. While some of the minority members remain “chaffed by the ‘act now deal with it later’ approach” by some majority members as well as the “shoe-horning” of the DREAM Act as part of the stacking of Democrat amendments, the Republican belief remains that there will be movement on the bill. LCR was told this morning in reference to proceeding with debate, “The hay is in the barn.”
In support of this staff view, it is worth noting the following statements made yesterday by fellow Republicans regarding the above mentioned “chaffing” on the amendment and scheduling process:
Office of Senator McCain: “I want to make one thing very clear: I do not oppose or support the repeal of ‘Don’t Ask Don’t Tell’ at this time, but I do oppose taking legislative action prior to the completion of a real and thorough review of the law. A complete survey to evaluate the impact of repeal on the men and women serving in our military should be concluded before moving forward. And when the Senate does consider taking legislative action, that action should be based on the survey of our men and women in uniform.”
Office of Senator Collins: “Senator Collins would like the Senate to proceed to a full and open debate on the Defense Authorization bill, with members able to offer amendments on all relevant issues. She has encouraged Senator Reid to work with Republican leaders to negotiate such an agreement so that the bill could be brought to the floor.”
LCR is requesting the majority play fair and NOT stack the bill full of Democrat-only amendments that could kill the NDAA for Republicans. McCain, Collins and Brown have taken this position. It would be unfortunate if the show-stopper to NDAA passage was some unrelated special interest amendment(s). On the horizon, post passage of the NDAA, the SASC minority staff believe there will a hearing or hearings regarding the actual DOD implementation of open service.
UPDATE BY EDEN: Meanwhile, a new DADT video by Lady Gaga just hit the interwebz:
UPDATE BY EDEN: Breaking news: GetEQUAL, the Sanctuary Project and H.E.R.O just made a powerfully symbolic point to Senator Jim Webb, who has been dragging his, er, boots on DADT repeal. Lt. Dan Choi was one of the participants in this action.
From their press release:
Gay and Lesbian Veterans, discharged servicemember and Advocates Visit Senator Webb’s Office, Leave Their Combat Boots in Honor of Webb’s past Direct Action and those Serving Under “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” Law
GetEQUAL, The Sanctuary Project and H.E.R.O. implore Senator Support the Legislation Continuing the Process of Repealing “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”
WASHINGTON – This morning, gay and lesbian veterans and a discharged servicemember along with GetEQUAL – a direct action lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) civil rights organization, H.E.R.O. – an Arizona-based grassroots group of community organizers, and the Sanctuary Project – a ministry advocating for the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell – visited Senator Jim Webb’s (D-VA) office where they implored that the Senator not introduce any amendments that would procedurally block the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”. The group of advocates supporting the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” entered the Senator’s office in their combat boots, leaving them behind as reminders of the thousands of active-duty, gay and lesbian servicemembers currently serving in the U.S. Armed Forces. Press-ready photos from today’s action will be available shortly at: www.getequal.org.
During his 2006 campaign for the United States Senate, Senator Jim Webb wore his son Jimmy’s old pair of combat boots on the campaign trail every day. Senator Webb said he wore the boots in tribue to his son, Jimmy, and in tribute of “all the people sent into harm’s way”.
“Senator Webb wore combat boots on the campaign trail every day in 2006 for, as the Senator said, ALL servicemembers serving their country. We are here today to remind Senator Webb that all servicemembers includes the thousands of gay and lesbian servicemembers sacrificing their safety and security by serving honorably in our country’s armed forces,” said Robin McGehee, co-founder and director of GetEQUAL. “We honor Senator Webb’s direct action in 2006, to show his deep committment and passion for his son and others defending our country. We have organized this action in solidarity with that vision, because we want the Senator to truly honor the service of gay and lesbian servicemembers by fully supporting the passage of the Defenese Authorization Act next week, which contains language to further the repeal of ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’.”
“As a Semper Fi, former Marine, I’m here today to tell Senator Webb that these combat boots I’ve worn in service to our country look just like his sons and everyone else’s combat boots serving in the United States Armed Forces,” said Cpl. Evelyn Thomas, a veteran of the United States Marine Corps. “In the line of duty, there are not differences because we are all Americans and we are all putting our lives on the line in service to our country. Senator Webb, your service to this country is appreciated and honored. Next week, you have an opportunity to show me and my brothers and sisters that our service is equally appreciated and honored by you.”
“Jim Webb is Senator Jim Webb because of the gay and lesbian support he received during his 2006 campaign,” said Jimmy Gruender, co-chair of H.E.R.O. “Because of our community’s work to put him into office and the calls and stories we here every day about how this law has affected gay and lesbian servicmembers, many from Senator Webb’s own home state of Virginia, prompted us to do this action today. Senator Webb, the LGBT community stood by you when you needed us. Now, we expect you to stand by us when we need you!”
A November 17th, 2006 article in the Advocate stated, “The effort to defeat Virginia’s proposed constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage apparently pulled thousands of progressive voters out to the polls, sending Democrat James Webb to the U.S. Senate by the thinnest of margins and handing the upper chamber to the Democrats for the next two years.”
Those servicemembers and advocates taking part in today’s action are:
Veteran Cpl. Evelyn Thomas, United States Marine Corps
veteran Capt. James Pietrangelo II, United States Army
veteran Sn. Jose A. Rodriguez, United States Navy
veteran Lt. Dan Choi, United States Army