DADT Public Forum Coming to Miami

The Human Rights Campaign (HRC), in partnership with Servicemembers United, Unity Coalition|Coalición Unida and SAVE Dade will visit Miami, FL, on April 29, 2010 for a Spanish language event as part of “Voices of Honor: A Generation Under ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.’” The national tour highlights the discriminatory law that hurts military readiness and national security while putting American soldiers fighting overseas at risk. The event will include a public forum with lesbian, gay and straight veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, alongside average Americans fighting for repeal of DADT.

HRC dispatched field staff to six states – Florida, Indiana, Massachusetts, Nebraska, Virginia and West Virginia, where congressional support for repeal is critical. The organization is building off the grassroots efforts of Servicemembers United to continue growing a network of supporters to repeal DADT. To learn more visit:

Military leaders, including Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Michael Mullen, recognize that DADT is a failed law and support its repeal. Former Vice President and Defense Secretary Dick Cheney also recently came out for repeal by stating, “When the chiefs come forward and say, ‘We think we can do it,’ then it strikes me as it’s time to reconsider the policy, and I think Adm. Mullen said that.”

Rep. Murphy, an Iraq War veteran and a former paratrooper in the U.S. Army's elite 82nd Airborne Division, is the lead sponsor of the Military Readiness Enhancement Act (H.R. 1283), the House bill to repeal the DADT law. Senator Joe Lieberman (I-CT) is the lead sponsor of similar legislation in the Senate. More than 13,500 Americans have been denied the ability to serve – including more than 800 specialists with vital skills like Arabic linguists.

INTERVIEW AVAILABILITY: Members of the media seeking to preview this event by speaking to a straight or lesbian/gay veteran may call Carlos Rodriguez al 305-335-1995.


WHAT: Public forum discussion on the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”

WHEN: April 29, 2010 at 10:00 a.m. local time

WHERE: Versailles Restaurant, 3555 SW 8th St. Miami, FL 33135

WHO: Discussion to feature remarks in Spanish from:

  • Walker Burtschell, a Miami native and veteran of the USMC, who was discharged under DADT;
  • Jorge Barbontin, a Veteran of the USMC and straight ally who believes DADT should be repealed;
  • Yaletza Morales, a Miami Native and veteran of the Navy who served under DADT;
  • Miami Beach Mayor Matti Herra-Bower
  • Miami Beach Commissioner Michael Gongora
  • North Miami City Councilman Scott Galvin


The Human Rights Campaign is America’s largest civil rights organization working to achieve lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality. By inspiring and engaging all Americans, HRC strives to end discrimination against LGBT citizens and realize a nation that achieves fundamental fairness and equality for all.

Servicemembers United, a non-profit and non-partisan organization, is the nation's largest organization of gay and lesbian troops and veterans and their allies. Based in Washington, DC, Servicemembers United actively engages in education, advocacy, and lobbying on issues affecting the gay military, veteran, and defense community.

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