Friday, May 28, 2010

Via NPR: Mullen Says Gays In Military Shouldn't Live A Lie

May 28, 2010

Congress is pushing to repeal the 17-year-old military policy of "don't ask, don't tell," which bars gays and lesbians from openly serving in the military. Michele Norris speaks with Admiral Mike Mullen, chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, about the potential repeal of the policy.

make the jump here to listen to the discussion

Via JMG: Photo Of The Day

Anti-gay preachers Brother Jed and Sister Cindy were at the University of Arizona screaming that homosexuals are going to hell, so the school's Secular Students Alliance had some fun. Hit the link for other clever counter-messages.

(Via - The Friendly Atheist)

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a brilliant repost lifted from Joe

File this under "well I'll be damned..."

HomoQuotable - CA Sen. Roy Ashburn

"My practice in my entire political career when it came to gay issues was to prevent any kind of spotlight from being shined my way, because I was in hiding. So casting any kind of vote might, could in some way, lead to my secret being revealed. That was terrifying to me. It was paralyzing. So I cast some votes that have denied gay people of their basic, equal treatment under the law, and I'm not proud of it. I'm not going to do that again." - California state Sen. Roy Ashburn, admitting what we know to be true of any anti-gay politician. Welcome to the light, Roy. We look forward to you making amends.

VIDEO: NBC Los Angeles talks to Ashburn about his transformation.

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posted by Joe

Via JMG: House Passes Full Defense Spending Bill With DADT Repeal Attached

Last night the House of Representatives voted in favor of attaching the compromise DADT repeal to its massive Defense spending bill. Although some GOP reps attempted to derail the full bill today, it has just passed by a similar partisan vote. Now the fight returns to the Senate. The Dallas Voice reports:

The Senate Armed Services Committee voted last night to approve the same amendment to their version of the defense bill, but Republicans in the Senate have vowed to keep fighting the amendment when it comes to the Senate floor for a vote. They have said they will filibuster the whole defense bill to try and kill DADT repeal. Even if the amendment passes in the Senate, too, the policy will not be immediately repealed, thanks to a compromise requiring implementation of the repeal to wait until the Pentagon completes a study on its impact — expected in December. Then the president, the defense secretary and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff would have to certify that the repeal wouldn’t hurt military readiness. THEN, when all those hoops are jumped through, there would be a 60 day waiting period before the policy is actually repealed.

The Servicemembers Legal Defense Network has issued the below statement.
With today's successful final passage vote on the defense budget bill, the repeal of 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' continues to move forward. We now look to the full senate to pass DADT repeal by mid-summer and bring the defense bill to the President's desk by October 1. While the votes in the House and the Senate Armed Services Committee are historic, it is important for all gay and lesbian, active-duty service members, including those in the reserves and the national guard, to know they're at risk. They must continue to serve in silence under the 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' law that remains on the books. Congress and the Pentagon need to stay on track to get repeal finalized, hopefully no later than first quarter 2011. We thank House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Rep. Patrick Murphy for their leadership and working to make sure we had a solid vote in the face of tough opposition.
But the president says that he'll VETO the Defense bill unless Congress fixes issues he has with the planned purchase of fighter planes.
"As the Congress continues its work on funding bills for the Department of Defense, I want to reiterate my strong support for the reforms Secretary Gates is advancing at the Pentagon. He has kept me fully apprised of his efforts to reform how our military operates and bring needed efficiencies to the Department of Defense. I stand squarely behind Secretary Gates' position on the JSF second engine and C-17 programs. As the Statement of Administration Policy made clear, our military does not want or need these programs being pushed by the Congress, and should Congress ignore this fact, I will veto any such legislation so that it can be returned to me without those provisions."
And on and on we go....

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reposted from Joe

Via HRC:

Joe's Weekly Message

Dear Daniel,

Yesterday, Congress took two important steps toward finally repealing "Don't Ask, Don't Tell". First, the Senate Armed Services Committee voted 16-12 to pass an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act that would repeal the 1993 law. It was the first time that Congress had ever voted to repeal "Don't Ask, Don't Tell". The bill is expected to proceed to the Senate floor sometime this summer.

Later in the evening, the House voted to pass the same measure 234-194, taking another giant step toward ending "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" (DADT).

These votes honor the thousands of service members who were discharged or resigned because of DADT. Thousands more serve in silence and untold numbers endure harassment that they cannot even report. We owe it to all of them to get this onerous law repealed.

This important step forward happened because of your efforts. Thousands of you wrote postcards, visited your members of Congress, organized your friends and families, wrote letters to the editor, came to veterans lobby day, attended events and worked until the last vote was cast. The actions of Congress speak volumes about the talents of the volunteers, staff, veterans, and allied organizations who got us to yesterday.

As we all know, there is more to be done. The bill has not yet passed the Senate floor, and we need to keep working until it passes and reaches the President's desk—where it will be signed.

When the President signs the bill, lesbian, gay and bisexual service members will not yet be able to serve openly. As drafted, the amendment that passed yesterday delays implementation until the Pentagon completes its review (scheduled to conclude in December 2010) and the President and military leadership certify that repeal will not harm military readiness. We must continue our good work throughout that process, and not forget that we have not won until all LGBT service members receive the equal treatment that they deserve.

It's fitting that these votes occurred just before Memorial Day. We interpret the positive outcomes as proof that our nation's leaders respect the contributions of all Americans, LGBT or not. And with all of the extraordinary work that we put in together, a long weekend doesn't hurt either. We'll be back at work next Tuesday, stronger and more determined than ever.



Joe Solmonese
President, Human Rights Campaign

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Via JMG: Around The World

They are: Cuba, China, Egypt, Greece, Iran, Jamaica, Mexico, Nigeria, North Korea, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Somalia, South Korea, Sudan, Syria, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, Uganda, United States, Venezuela, and Yemen.

(Via - Esquire)

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reposted from Joe

Via JMG: What Disney Teaches Girls

Not to mention that many of Disney's villains have been older, single, effeminate men.

(Via - Boing,Boing)

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reposted from JMG

Via JMG: Keith Olbermann & Dan Savage On The Anti-Gay DADT Crazies

Last night Olbermann and Savage talked about all those Hitler loving, soldier-raping, AIDS-carrying gays that the AFA and FRC have been warning you about. And then they get into John McCain's announced plan to filibuster the Senate vote and bring the entire repeal effort crashing down.

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reposted from Joe

Sex and the City 2 Gals Talk Gay Marriage

RE DADT: Good News, Bad News

Courage Campaign

First the good news. Late last night, the Senate Armed Services Committee and the House of Representatives made history, passing an amendment to the Defense Authorization bill to repeal "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" -- an historic moment bringing America one significant step closer to ending this discriminatory military policy.

But here's the bad news -- and it's really bad: As we told you yesterday in the message below, Sen. John McCain and the Republicans are planning to filibuster -- yes, filibuster -- the entire defense budget bill to stop the repeal of DADT. To defeat us, the extreme right-wing is cranking up their propaganda machine like they did on health care, behind the homophobic attacks of the Family Research Council.

As Keith Olbermann said on MSNBC last night, "John McCain is marshaling his own resistance to the Senate amendment, inexplicably siding with right-wing fringe groups, who are attempting to out-homophobe each other to prevent historic progress for gay Americans."

This is NOT over by a long shot. We've got big plans to stop John McCain and the Family Research Council -- but we can't launch our campaign without your financial support. To win, we have to fight back immediately. Whether it's $5 or $500, we need your help right now:

To catch up on the rest of McCain's extremist obstructionism as well as what it will take to defeat him, please read the message we sent you Thursday morning before the Senate Armed Services Committee vote...

Dear Daniel --

Today, the Senate Armed Services Committee could make history.

Behind the leadership of Chairman Carl Levin, the Senate committee is on the verge of passing an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act that would remove "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" from federal statute and set the stage for eventual repeal.

That's the good news. The bad news is that this is far, far, far from over.

Roll Call is reporting that Sen. John McCain will "without a doubt" support an unprecedented filibuster of the entire defense budget to stop the repeal of DADT if the bill comes to the floor of the full Senate.

It gets worse. According to the New York Times, McCain also solicited letters from the Joint Chiefs of Staff -- the chiefs of the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines -- that object to the repeal amendment supported by President Obama, Defense Secretary Robert Gates, and Joint Chiefs Chairman Mike Mullen.

McCain's shocking obstructionism is being amplified by the right-wing Family Research Council, which released a video on Wednesday attempting to drive a wedge between the Joint Chiefs and the President, claiming Obama is trying to "force open homosexuality on the military."

This is absolutely outrageous. John McCain and the notorious Family Research Council are declaring war on us. The only way we can stop this Republican filibuster -- and win this war -- is with your support. Please contribute $25, $50, $100 or more now and help us fight back:

We've been organizing against DADT for months -- and we will continue to organize against it for many more months until it's dead and buried. For good.

Fortunately, we've got an equality army ready to go to battle. To date, 280,192 Americans have taken action on DADT through the Courage Campaign. Just this week, thousands more called Congress and more than 15,000 Courage and DFA members committed to hand-delivering Gov. Howard Dean's open letter -- signed by nearly 100,000 Americans -- to Senate offices in all 50 states.

Two weeks ago, the chances of repeal this year looked slim to none. But because of your relentless activism -- and the people power fueled by more than 30 organizations working to repeal DADT -- the Senate Armed Services Committee is on the verge of passing this historic amendment today.

Now John McCain and the extremist Family Research Council are vowing to stop at nothing to crush this movement -- even though a new CNN poll shows 78% of Americans support gays and lesbians serving openly in the military. Only you can help us defeat them. Please make a contribution of whatever amount you can afford now to help us fight back:

Thank you for fighting back today. We can't do this without you.

Rick Jacobs
Chair, Courage Campaign

Courage Campaign Equality is a part of the Courage Campaign's multi-issue online organizing network that empowers more than 700,000 grassroots and netroots supporters to push for progressive change and full equality in California and across the country. To get involved in Courage Campaign Equality, visit "Testimony: Equality on Trial" -- our new campaign to bring the Prop 8 trial into the lives of Americans.

To support our campaign to repeal "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," please chip in what you can today: