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Gay man discharged under ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ named Presidential Inauguration citizen co-chair

The Presidential Inauguration Committee announced Thursday (January 17) that an openly gay veteran of the Air Force will be among the eight “Citizen Co-Chairs” for President Obama’s second inaugural ceremony.

David Hall, an official with Outserve-SLDN who helped with the successful effort to repeal the Don’t Ask Don’t Tell law banning open gays from the military, was chosen as one of eight Americans to “reflect the core values of this Administration and the theme of the 57th Presidential Inauguration: Our People. Our Future.”

Presidential Inauguration Committee Executive Director David Cusack issued a statement saying each of the eight co-chairs was selected for his or her “extraordinary contributions to their communities.”

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SLDN sues government over Defense of Marriage Act

Now that gays and lesbians can serve openly in the United States military, the next step in the legal battle is to secure the same partner benefits for married same-sex couples that heterosexual couples enjoy.

Servicemembers Legal Defense Network today filed a federal lawsuit against Attorney General Eric Holder, Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta and Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric Shinseki on behalf of eight former and current active duty soldiers over the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act, a 1996 law which prevents the government from recognizing same-sex marriages, even those performed legally in jurisdictions that allow them.

“The plaintiffs, each legally married, want the armed services to recognize their families and seek the same family support and benefits for their same-sex spouses that the services and Department of Veterans Affairs provide to opposite-sex spouses,” SLDN said today via a media release.

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Atlanta ceremony marks end of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’

There were many poignant moments Monday evening as about 200 Atlantans gathered in Piedmont Park to mark the end of the U.S. military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy. But none were more touching than when Danny Ingram, national president of American Veterans for Equal Rights, brought to the podium the very officer who had discharged him from the Army for being gay almost 20 years ago.

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Local organizations to celebrate ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ repeal

American Veterans for Equal Rights' Danny IngramSept. 20 will mark a major turning point in the fight for LGBT equality, as the military’s anti-gay “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy, a law that bans gay and lesbian soldiers from serving openly, will finally be repealed. At least two local events are planned to commemorate the milestone.

Passed by Congress in 1993 and signed into law by President Bill Clinton, “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” was the basis for some 14,000 military discharges during its 18 year-history.

The repeal effort was one of the final acts of the Democratically controlled 111th Congress and fulfilled a 2008 campaign pledge from President Barack Obama.

“By ending ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,’ no longer will our nation be denied the service of thousands of patriotic Americans forced to leave the military, despite years of exemplary performance, because they happen to be gay,” Obama said after Congress passed the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell Repeal Act of 2010 in late December.

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‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ repeal finally certified; 60 days until law is officially gone

"Don't Ask, Don't Tell," the policy that ended the military careers of more than 14,000 lesbians and gay men, moved a step closer to the rubbish bins of history Friday as President Obama, Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta and Admiral Michael Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, formally certified its repeal.

Congress voted to repeal "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" and Obama signed the bill into law in December 2010. But the legislation required Obama,  the secretary of defense and the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff to certify to the House and Senate Armed Services Committees that the military was ready to implement the repeal.

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House to vote on stand-alone DADT repeal

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi

Speaker of the House Nancy Polosi (D-Ca.), Reps. Steny Howyer (D-Md.) and Patrick Murphy (D-Pa.) will introduce a stand-alone bill in the House to repeal the military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy, according to Servicemembers Legal Defense Network. The move comes after a similar announcement made last week by Sens. Joe Lieberman (I-Ct.) and Susan Collins (R-Me.) of a stand-alone repeal measure in the Senate.

“We applaud  House Speaker Pelosi, Reps. Hoyer and Murphy for their extraordinary leadership in the waning hours of the lame-duck session,” said Aubrey Sarvis, executive director for Servicemembers Legal Defense Network in a press release issued this morning.

“Let’s be clear: we’ll still need 60 votes in the Senate,” Sarvis continued. “This ‘privileged’ House bill will need to pass the full House and then move to the Senate.  While we avoid a cloture vote to proceed and save time on the Senate floor, we’ll still need 60 votes to complete the bill and send it directly to the President’s desk.”

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Reid: Senate cloture vote on defense bill ‘likely’ tonight, includes ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ repeal

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said this morning on the Senate floor that a cloture vote on the 2011 Defense Authorization bill, which includes repeal language for the military’s anti-gay “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy, could be voted on tonight if time allowed, according to Servicemembers Legal Defense Network.

“And I’m likely going to move to my motion to reconsider on the Defense Authorization Act this evening,” Reid said. “Allowing, as I will indicate at that time, time for amendments to that piece of legislation.”

According to SLDN, Reid is “actively reaching out to his Republican colleagues to reach an agreement on how to proceed.”

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Ann Coulter on Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell

Right-wing author/dominatrix Ann Coulter sparred with left-wing TV host/Columbia University professor Marc Lamont Hill on Larry King last night.

After professing her love for Sarah Palin and Christine O'Donnell, I was hoping she could fill me in on any intelligent opposition to the repeal of 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell,' but I think she missed the point completely.

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‘DADT’ Impact: Letter from Lee Quillian

With the Pentagon’s family survey now in the field, Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (SLDN), a national, legal services and policy organization dedicated to ending "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" (DADT), will release a letter each day this week from family members and spouses of former service members impacted by DADT. As the Pentagon reaches out to 150,000 straight couples on how their lives are impacted, these letters will share the perspective of those forced to serve under this law alongside their loved ones. SLDN is urging supporters of repeal to call, write, and schedule in-district meetings with both their senators as the defense budget, which contains the repeal amendment, moves to the floor just weeks from now. www.sldn.org/action.


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‘DADT’ Impact: Letter from Nancy S. Manzella

Don't Ask, Don't Tell impact

With the Pentagon’s family survey now in the field, Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (SLDN), a national, legal services and policy organization dedicated to ending "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" (DADT), will release a letter each day this week from family members and spouses of former service members impacted by DADT. As the Pentagon reaches out to 150,000 straight couples on how their lives are impacted, these letters will share the perspective of those forced to serve under this law alongside their loved ones. SLDN is urging supporters of repeal to call, write, and schedule in-district meetings with both their senators as the defense budget, which contains the repeal amendment, moves to the floor just weeks from now. www.sldn.org/action.