For Immediate Release
Brad Luna | Phone: 202/216.1514 | Cell: 202/812.8140
Trevor Thomas | Phone: 202/216.1547 | Cell: 202/250.9758
Human Rights Campaign, Servicemembers United Launch National Tour to Repeal 'Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell'
U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy, alongside gay, lesbian, and straight servicemembers, kicks off “Voices of Honor: A Generation Under ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’”
WASHINGTON - The Human Rights Campaign, the nation's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) civil rights organization, in partnership with Servicemembers United, the nation's largest organization of gay and lesbian troops and veterans and their straight allies, and U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy (D-PA), announced today the launch 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. To learn more online, visit: www.hrc.org/VoicesOfHonor.
"This tour focuses on the voices and stories of the qualified, patriotic gay and lesbian service members who are forced out of the U.S. Armed Services simply because of who they are," said Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese. "Poll after poll continues to show the vast majority of Americans, including the majority of active members of the Armed Services, support the right of gay and lesbian service members to serve openly and honestly. We must repeal this discriminatory policy and ensure that our military can recruit and retain the best and the brightest troops regardless of their sexual orientation."
"‘Don't Ask, Don't Tell' is an antiquated holdover from a previous era," said Alex Nicholson, Executive Director of Servicemembers United. "The men and women in the modern military, both gay, lesbian, and straight, are professionals. Servicemembers United and HRC are going on the road with the ‘Voices of Honor' tour to show the American public who gay service members really are, and that our fellow troops simply do not care about sexual orientation anymore."
"‘Don't Ask, Don't Tell' clearly isn't working for our military, and it hurts national security and military readiness at a time when America is fighting in two wars in Iraq and Afghanistan," said U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy (D-PA). "My time in Iraq taught me that our military needs the best and the brightest who are willing to serve- and that means all Americans, regardless of their orientation. Discharging brave and talented service members from our armed forces is contrary to the values that our military fights for and that our nation holds dear."
"Voices of Honor" features a diverse group of gay, lesbian, and straight veterans who have served under the military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy. The tour includes former Marine Staff Sgt. Eric Alva, the first U.S. soldier wounded in the Iraq war; Jarrod Chlapowski, a former U.S. Army Korean linguist who opted to not re-enlist because of DADT and is currently a public policy advocate at the Human Rights Campaign; Alex Nicholson, a U.S. Army veteran fluent in Arabic discharged under DADT and current executive director of Servicemembers United; Army Staff Sgt. Genevieve Chase, a veteran of Operation Enduring Freedom and Executive Director of American Women Veterans; and others standing united and speaking out for the repeal of this discriminatory policy that continues to harm our nation's security. For veteran profiles, visit: http://www.hrc.org/sites/voicesofhonor/about_vets.asp
The tour builds on the work of the Human Rights Campaign and Servicemembers United and the June 2007 "Legacy of Service" tour that played a key role in driving the conversation in the Democratic and Republican Presidential debates. During the presidential primary campaign debates leading up to the 2008 election, every Democratic and Republican candidate was asked about his or her position on "Don't Ask, Don't Tell." The issue was also addressed in the LOGO, Human Rights Campaign Presidential Forum in 2007. The importance of repealing DADT was also highlighted in the 2006 "Call to Duty" tour sponsored by HRC and Servicemembers United.
"Voices of Honor: A Generation Under ‘Don't Ask, Don't Tell'" National Tour:
Virginia Beach, VA;
Kansas City, MO;
*Additional cities and dates expected to be announced soon.
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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.