Wednesday, September 15, 2010

ACT NOW! DADT and ENDA ... Last Chances

Optimistic ... that's how this year began, looking towards gay-positive federal change. The year is heading toward a close, though, and very little actual progress is in sight.

There are, however, two LGBT items on the national stage that retain a glimmer of hope, and it's up to us to push, push, push to have them realized.

Don't Ask, Don't Tell (DADT)
The Defense Authorization bill contains compromise language for repealing the anti-gay DADT military policy.

Call your federal Senators today to support repeal of DADT and oppose efforts to maintain DADT. It's so easy - here's what you do:

Call/visit the Senate (you can e-mail or submit a web request, but live people are really what will make the difference) and ask to speak with your Senators:

Burr, Richard - (R - NC)
(202) 224-3154
Web Form:

Hagan, Kay R. - (D - NC)

(202) 224-6342
Web Form:

The main Senate switchboard is 202/224-3121.

Specifically tell the Senators to:
1) OPPOSE a motion to strike the DADT repeal amendment from the bill
2) OPPOSE any replacement or substitute DADT repeal amendment
3) OPPOSE any attempt to modify the DADT repeal amendment in the bill
4) OPPOSE any filibuster attempt
5) SUPPORT final passage of the Defense Authorization bill

You can make the point that the following countries allow open service of LGBT folks in their militaries:
  • Albania, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bermuda, Canada, Colombia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, The Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Romania, Russia, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, United Kingdom, Uruguay
... while these do not:
  • Cuba, China, Egypt, Iran, North Korea, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, Singapore, South Korea, Syria, Turkey, Yemen
Birds of a feather flock together - it's pretty clear which group the United States should want to belong with!

Recently DADT was found unconstitutional by a federal judge. If the US Department of Justice doesn't appeal this ruling, DADT may simply go away. Encourage US Attorney General Eric Holder to let the ruling stand. Write, call, or e-mail (public comments are a drop in the bucket, but drops add up!):
Eric Holder, Attorney General
U.S. Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20530-0001
public comment line - 202-353-1555
You can use this letter to get more information and some sample language to use.

Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA)
ENDA has a record number of cosponsors in the House. That means we have a real chance to get ENDA passed. Despite broad support, though, our allies in Congress are refusing to even put ENDA on the agenda.

GetEQUAL has put together a plan of action for their "ENDA Summer" campaign. They've targeted specific legislators to push on this issue, and two of them are here in North Carolina. For more information and to take action, go to their "Fighting for ENDA in North Carolina" page.

"Mike McIntyre is a Democratic Representative who has a track record out of line with the party's platform of LGBT equality. He opposed ENDA in 2007, opposed Hate Crimes last year, and opposed the repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" this year. He is, of course, leaning no on ENDA if it comes up for a vote this year.

Heath Shuler is a also Democratic Representative with the same anti-LGBT track record as Rep. McIntyre. He opposed ENDA in 2007, opposed Hate Crimes last year, and opposed the repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" this year. He is also, of course, leaning no on ENDA if it comes up for a vote this year.

There are other states in which GetEQUAL is targeting Republicans, specifically those who serve heavily LGBT constituencies, yet continue to vote against LGBT equality. In North Carolina, however, Democrats who vote against LGBT equality AND who vote against their own party's platform must be held accountable. Since the Democratic party continues to fund these lawmakers, it is up to us to let them know that voting against us is not OK."

This year has been the best opportunity ever to allow open service by LGBT servicemembers and to protect LGBT workers from unfair discrimination in employment.

Your action will make all the difference. Act now!

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