Human Rights Campaign Announces May 11th Lobby Day to Repeal DADT; Launches National Action Alert to Recruit Veterans and Allies

For Immediate Release

Contact: 

Brad Luna 202/216.1514
Trevor Thomas 202/216.1547

Human Rights Campaign Announces May 11th Lobby Day to Repeal DADT; Launches National Action Alert to Recruit Veterans and Allies

Website allows activists to join growing network supporting repeal; Key states identified in national campaign effort

WASHINGTON - The
Human Rights Campaign, the nation's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and
transgender (LGBT) civil rights organization, launched a national
action alert today to recruit service members, their familiesand allies
to gather in one of the largest showings of veteran support for the
repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" (DADT) on May 11, 2010, as Congress
begins to take action on the Defense Department budget.

The
"Lobby Day" action, in partnership with Servicemembers United, will
build a national network of gay and straightveterans willing to give
voice to repeal.  Focusing on key states where congressional support
for repeal is critical, veteran leaders will recruit, train and
mobilize their broad community to become effective voices for
change. To assist in that effort, HRC field staff has been dispatched
to five states - Florida, Indiana, Nebraska, Virginia and West
Virginia, with other states to follow in the months ahead.
 

To
elevate the campaign, HRC's national action alert includes an emailed
survey to find and build service member participation for the May 11th
Lobby Day.  HRC is asking members and supporters to pass it along to
anyone they know with military connections.  To sign up and to join the growing network of supporters to repeal DADT, visit: www.hrc.org/RepealDADT.
 
"We
know that nothing elevates this issue more than the personal stories of
veterans and their families who have been so burdened by this law,"
said Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese.  "Too many members
of Congress have been removed from the direct impact of ‘Don't Ask,
Don't Tell.'  We hope this national call to lobby will activate former
service members and their families to speak candidly and bluntly about
the damage caused by this law."

More
than 13,500 Americans have been denied the ability to serve - including
more than 800 specialists with vital skills like Arabic linguists.  It
is time to replace the failed DADT law with open service by qualified
lesbian and gay service members, ensuring that the military will no
longer need to sacrifice those whose service it cannot afford to lose. 
Iraq War veteran Rep. Patrick Murphy, D-Penn. and Sen. Joe Lieberman,
I-Conn. are championing this legislative repeal effort on Capitol
Hill. 
 
HRC
has been laying the groundwork for repeal through programs like the
"Voices of Honor" and "Legacy of Service"tours, which organized in key
states to highlight the costs of DADTand promote the voices of gay and
straight veterans who support repeal.  This week, HRC joined a
coalition of groups led by Media Matters to help debunk many of the
myths around repealing DADT.  To read more visit the HRC blog: http://www.hrcbackstory.org/2010/02/hrc-joins-coalition-in-debunking-dadt-lies/

A
Washington Post/ABC News poll conducted in July 2008 found that 75% of
Americans believe openly lesbian and gay citizens should be able to
serve in the U.S. military. Additionally, veterans - especially younger
generation veterans - are increasingly comfortable serving alongside
gay troops.  A December 2006 poll of soldiers returning from Iraq and
Afghanistan conducted by Zogby International found that 73% of soldiers
reported being "comfortable"  in the presence of lesbians and gays and only 37% opposed repealing the DADT law.

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The Human Rights Campaign represents a grassroots force of over 750,000 members and supporters nationwide. As the largest national lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender civil rights organization, HRC envisions an America where LGBT people are ensured of their basic equal rights, and can be open, honest and safe at home, at work and in the community.

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