The Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) civil rights organization, U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy (D-PA), alongside lesbian, gay and straight veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, will hold a press conference on March 4, 2010, in coordination with a swell of average Americans fighting for repealof “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell(DADT). The event is timed with HRC’s annual spring Lobby Day where more than 300 members and supporters are expected to participate.
Last week, HRC launched a national action alert and announced details of its ongoing campaign to repeal the law that hurts military readiness and national security while putting American soldiers fighting overseas at risk. Focusing on key states where congressional support for repeal is critical, HRC dispatched field staff to five states – Florida, Indiana, Nebraska, Virginia and West Virginia, with other states to follow in the months ahead. HRC is also asking members and supporters to sign up and to join the growing network of supporters to repeal DADT. To learn more visit: www.hrc.org/RepealDADT.
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 Housebill to repeal the DADT law. Senator Joe Lieberman (I-CT) is expected to introduce a Senate bill to repeal DADT soon. More than 13,500 Americans have been denied the ability to serve – including more than 800 specialists with vital skills like Arabic linguists.
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.”
PRESS CONFERENCE DETAILS:
WHAT: Press conference highlighting grassroots support for the repeal of DADT
WHEN: March 4, 2010, at 12:00 p.m. ET
WHERE: U.S. House of Representatives Triangle, Capitol Hill
WHO: Press conference to feature remarks from:
- U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy, Iraq veteran and lead sponsor of the bill to repeal DADT (HR 1283);
- Joe Solmonese, president of Human Rights Campaign;
- Eric Alva, a former Marine Staff Sgt. veteran who was the first U.S. soldier wounded in the Iraq war and is now an HRC spokesperson on DADT;
- Jarrod Chlapowski, a former U.S. Army Korean linguist who opted to not re-enlist because of DADT and is a public policy advocate at the Human Rights Campaign; and,
- Kayla Williams, a straight OIF veteran and former Army Arabic linguist who is the author of the Love My Rifle More Than You: Young and Female in the U.S. Army.
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.