NOTE: MAJOR UPDATES BELOW.
And look at this bombshell from The Politico:
Two gay troops’ groups will announce today that they’d support breaking off DADT repeal if doing so would help the defense authorization act pass – but they’ll keep pushing for repeal in the lame-duck Congress, Morning Defense has learned. The statement from OutServe and Knights Out is just one prong in a complex offensive planned for lawmakers’ return to Washington this week, organizers said.
“On behalf of the more than 1,000 active duty gay and lesbian service members and 500 gay and lesbian veterans we represent, we respectfully urge Congress to pass the FY 2011 National Defense Authorization Act to fund the aircraft, weapons, combat vehicles, ammunition and promised pay-raises for all troops, whether or not the repeal of don’t ask, don’t tell is included,” the statement will say. “To be clear, we will continue to fight for our integrity as gay and lesbian service members and we hope that legislative action in Congress can be taken in 2010 to lift the ban.”
Here’s the release; I’m just passing it on (via The Palm Center). I have no clue what strategic purpose this serves to help repeal a discriminatory policy.
Today, OutServe and Knights Out issued a statement responding to current efforts in Congress to filibuster the FY2011 National Defense Authorization Act because of its inclusion of conditional repeal for the ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ law and policy. The statement reads:
“There is nothing more important than loyalty to those with whom we serve. This means ensuring that no one issue interferes with funding the courageous and selfless work our fellow service members are doing around the world. Therefore, on behalf of the more than 1,000 active duty gay and lesbian service members and 500 gay and lesbian veterans we represent, we respectfully urge Congress to pass the FY 2011 National Defense Authorization Act to fund the aircraft, weapons, combat vehicles, ammunition and promised pay-raises for all troops, whether or not the repeal of “don’t ask, don’t tell” is included.”
“To be clear, we will continue to fight for our integrity as gay and lesbian service members and we hope that legislative action in Congress can be taken in 2010 to lift the ban. With the support of President Obama, Chairman Mullen, Secretary Gates and the reported seventy-percent of service members surveyed, a new day of openly gay service is at hand if Congress acts during this lame duck session. We are proud to serve in the United States Armed Forces today and tomorrow.”
OutServe is a network of approximately 1,000 active-duty soldiers, sailors, Marines, airmen, and members of the Coast Guard. JD Smith is a pseudonym.
Knights Out is an organization of West Point alumni, staff and faculty who are united in supporting the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender soldiers to openly serve their country. The group has 203 members and graduate supporters and 462 allies.
Update: Statement from Alex Nicholson, Servicemembers United:
It has been the position of the organizations that actually work on repealing ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ to strongly oppose stripping the repeal language out of the defense authorization bill. That position has been based on the reality of the vote count, and those facts on the ground here in Washington have not changed. Servicemembers United, which is the nation’s largest gay troop and veteran group by far, strongly agrees with the White House that stripping DADT out of NDAA is simply a non-starter.
It’s pretty clear to both Joe and me that the Palm Center is doing this on behalf of some other unnamed groups, who are working on behalf of an unnamed elected official who has a record of being rather un-fierce. You can do the math.
We’ll be writing much more about this incredibly idiotic strategy in the coming hours and days. But read this press release that the Palm Center is sending out to the entire world. It’s an invitation for John McCain to kill the repeal of DADT. It’s clearly part of some larger super duper 11th dimensional chess strategy, and it’s dumb as hell. You can thank the Palm Center, and their secret patrons who convinced them to do this, when DADT repeal dies in the coming weeks.
Question for Blenders – do you think the Palm/Outserve/KnightsOut BS is another mop-up PR operation by this WH? In the end, those who serve in silence still lose. The votes aren’t there for a standalone DADT repeal; there is no point in playing 11th dimensional chess to pull a fast one on the LGBT community when the votes aren’t there. No one is buying.
ANOTHER UPDATE: This response to the dust-up by JD Smith of Outserve:
“Let us be clear on where we stand as we begin this lame duck session. Nowhere do we call for repeal to be stripped from the NDAA. No matter what, we will be soldiers in this fight and the real issue is this: while people like Senator McCain continue to demonize us as unpatriotic and disloyal soldiers, we will stand strong with our fellow military members. Unlike Senator McCain, we refuse to abandon our comrades at a time when this country is dealing with multiple military conflicts.
Senator McCain should be the target of the blame for the continued stalling and distractions during this process, and is responsible, ultimately, for perpetuating discrimination against gay and lesbian service members.
In the past few years on active duty, my greatest support has come from straight active duty service members. They have stood by me when leadership tried to investigate me under DADT and risked their careers in order to protect me. They have been the rock of my support over the years. As a gay man and a proud member of the military, I have two dogs in this fight. It is incredibly painful to see how politicians – especially Senator McCain – will play politics with the lives of patriotic Americans, gay and straight.”
MEGA UPDATE: A joint release by the nation’s largest LGBT orgs fighting for repeal.