DADT

Freedom to Marry Launches New Campaign

I’ve posted before that I’m on the Freedom to Marry mailing list. Whenever I get e-mails I usually post them here for those who either aren’t familiar or normally wouldn’t see this information. There’s also a link to a video that’s interesting. In a way I know how the two guys in the video feel. For years when Tony worked in corporate America where gay is not discussed…ever…we experienced the same types of things.

I’m not a huge fan of online petitions. I don’t think they do much good. But I am a fan of getting information out there in all forms.

Copied verbatim from the e-mail:

Ryan,

Last September, my husband, Army Reserve Captain Steve Hill, was deployed to Iraq, and we celebrated together on Skype as “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” (DADT) was repealed. We were finally able to be honest about our life together and share with others the love and commitment we have for one another.

A few nights later, I sat in amazement as Steve was booed by a presidential debate audience when he asked a question via video from Iraq about whether the candidates would support bringing back the discriminatory DADT policy.

Imagine: A service member fighting for our country overseas, booed by Americans at home. It was disgraceful.

Click here to watch a video about us. Then sign the petition to Congress calling on them to repeal DOMA.
Steve and I knew we had to do more than just be honest about our own relationship. We had to be part of the fight to secure the freedom to marry – and the protections and responsibilities that come with the commitment of marriage – for all service members.

That’s why we joined a lawsuit with seven other military families and Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (SLDN), challenging the so-called Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and other federal laws that have been used to prevent the military from treating all military families equally.

It’s also why I’m writing to you today. SLDN and Freedom to Marry have launched Freedom to Serve, Freedom to Marry, a new campaign to tell the stories of gay and lesbian service members, veterans and their families – and to talk about why marriage matters to us. Steve and I want to share our story with you today.

Watch our video, then sign the petition asking Congress to repeal DOMA.
Steve and I are doing our part to make sure that our marriage – and the marriages of so many loving couples like us across the United States – are honored by the country that Steve took an oath to protect when he joined the Army. You can do your part, too.

Together, we will achieve the freedom to marry for all – especially those putting their lives on the line to protect our country.

Sincerely,

Joshua Snyder

Repeal of DADT: End of an Era

Today, in a 65-31 vote, the Senate ended the ban of gays and lesbians in the military. In my latest book, which hasn’t even been released yet, I focused on a theme that revolved around DADT and gays in the military, and kept thinking all the way through the book whether or not I’d see a repeal in my lifetime. It didn’t look good for a long time. It’s still almost too good to be true and I’m almost waiting for some kind of a catch…like what happened with Proposition 8 in California.

But for now DADT has been repealed, and it looks like it’s going to stick, ending one of the most discriminatory laws this country has ever seen.

For more information, Andrea Stone has written a full piece, here.

Cover Copy for New Book Dealing with DADT and Gays in the Military

From Wiki: In the autumn of 2010, a federal district court judge declared the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy unconstitutional and issued an injunction prohibiting the Department of Defense from enforcing or complying with the policy. The appellate court stayed the injunction pending appeal; thus Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell remains in effect. On November 12, the US Supreme Court declined to overturn the stay.

Though the book hasn’t been titled yet, here’s the new cover copy.

The main focus in Duke’s life has always revolved around being the best fighter pilot in the Navy, not the fact that he’s a gay man. Only he’s garnered a reputation for being overly aggressive and far too instinctive. And though he likes to think of the chances he takes as heroic and wise, there are many in the Navy who think of him as reckless and irresponsible.

And when the Navy sends Duke to the most rigorous flight class in the country, he only becomes more aggressive in order to be the big bad top gun everyone expects him to be. But while he’s working hard to be number one, he meets an attractive young civilian flight instructor named Jaime who turns his entire life upside down. Though it all starts out as a series of harmless flirtations, it becomes so intense Duke begins to wonder whether or not he can continue to abide by the rules of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell.

To make matters even more complicated in his closeted life, Duke’s main competition in his class, an aggressive guy who goes by the call sign, Bullet…who also happens to be gay…discovers Duke’s relationship with Jaime. Bullet decides to blackmail Duke, by bullying Duke and threatening to expose him if he doesn’t come in second. But after a serious accident that leaves Duke so devastated he can barely fly a plane, Duke begins to question his goals, his ferocious need to be number one, and his unyielding devotion to a military that refuses to treat him with respect and dignity and equality.

When Duke realizes the only good thing that has ever happened to him was falling in love with Jaime, he comes up with two plans of action. Both plans have the potential to change his life and Jaime’s life forever, and both plans come with consequences with which they will both have to live. But he can only choose one. And though Duke isn’t sure which plan he’ll go with until the very end of the story, he’s certain that he’ll never stop fighting to keep Jaime in his life forever.

Gay Romance, DADT, and What’s Real

I’m finishing up a novel today that deals with the subject of gay men in the military. As usual, this particular book is loosely based on the storyline from the film, “Top Gun.” But there’s no way I could have followed the storyline of the film and not mentioned how the main character deals with being in the military and DADT.

If I wanted to, I could still probably just make it all fantasy. I could write about strong gay men in the military who don’t have to worry about coming out of the closet and being open about their sexuality. I could even create a world where Don’t Ask Don’t Tell doesn’t exist.

But then I wouldn’t be able to sleep at night.

So I’m hoping I did justice to one of the most frustrating forms of discrimination of our time, DADT. And I’m hoping I did it with simple, real examples. One of those examples, for me, was to show that not all gay men in the military are constantly trying to seduce straight men. I’ve interviewed gay men in the military for this book, and they’ve all told me the last thing on their mind is sex with straight men. These are strong men who are very career oriented and the most important thing on their minds is serving their country to the best of their ability. And they want to be treated as equals.

I’ll try to put all this, and more, into the cover copy so readers know what they are getting. It is, in fact, a romance with a happy ending. But the ending is nothing like the way the film ended and the characters are not ashamed to take life head on, from a realistic POV this time. Also, this was one of those times when it would have been impossible to follow the storyline of “Top Gun” with two gay characters, and not completely deviate from the original plot. So if you’re a die-hard fan of the straight version of the film, you might not like they way I ended the book. But I didn’t see any other choices at this point in time.

US District Judge Virginia Phillips Orders ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ Injunction

I’m not just posting links this time. I’m posting a link to the article and the actual article because I think it’s MANDATORY for everyone to read this thoroughly. This isn’t just about jumping and and down and screaming “huzzah.” The way this happened defines American politics as it is right now, and who is truly fighting for equal rights and the lgbt community.

http://www.aolnews.com/nation/article/us-district-judge-virginia-phillips-orders-dont-ask-dont-tell-injunction/19671216?icid=main%7Chtmlws-main-n%7Cdl1%7Csec1_lnk3%7C177134

Federal Judge Orders ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ Injunction
Updated: 1 hour 2 minutes ago
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Virginia Phillips’ landmark ruling also ordered the government to suspend and discontinue all pending discharge proceedings and investigations under the policy.U.S. Department of Justice attorneys have 60 days to appeal. Pentagon and Department of Justice officials said they are reviewing the case and had no immediate comment.

The injunction goes into effect immediately, said Dan Woods, the attorney who represented the Log Cabin Republicans, the gay rights group that filed the lawsuit in 2004 to stop the ban’s enforcement.
“Don’t ask, don’t tell, as of today at least, is done, and the government is going to have to do something now to resurrect it,” Woods said. “This is an extremely significant, historic decision. Once and for all, this failed policy is stopped. Fortunately now we hope all Americans who wish to serve their country can.”
Legal experts say the Obama administration is under no legal obligation to appeal and could let Phillips’ ruling stand.
Phillips’ decision was widely cheered by gay rights organizations that credited her with getting accomplished what President Obama and Washington politics could not.
“This order from Judge Phillips is another historic and courageous step in the right direction, a step that Congress has been noticeably slow in taking,” said Alexander Nicholson, executive director of Servicemembers United, the nation’s largest organization of gay and lesbian troops and veterans.
He was the sole named veteran plaintiff in the case along with the Log Cabin Republicans, a gay rights organization that filed the lawsuit in 2004 to stop the ban’s enforcement.
Gay rights groups warned gay troops not to make their sexual orientation public just yet. Aaron Tax, the legal director for the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, said he expects the Justice Department to appeal. If that happens, the case would be brought to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit, where the decision could be reversed.
“Service members must proceed safely and should not come out at this time,” Tax said in a statement.
Supporters of the ban said Phillips overstepped her bounds.
“The judge ignored the evidence to impose her ill-informed and biased opinion on our military, endangering morale, health and security of our military at a time of war,” said Wendy Wright, president of Concerned Women for America, a women’s group on public policy. “She did not do what Congress did when it passed the law and investigate the far-reaching effects of how this will detrimentally impact the men and women who risk their lives to defend us.
“The case put the Obama administration in the awkward position of defending a policy it wants Congress to repeal.
Defense Secretary Robert Gates, a Republican, and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Mike Mullen, the military’s top uniformed officer, have both said they support lifting the ban. But Gates and Mullen also have said they would prefer to move slowly.
Gates has ordered a sweeping study, due Dec. 1, that includes a survey of troops and their families.
President Obama agreed to the Pentagon study but also worked with Democrats to write a bill that would have lifted the ban, pending completion of the Defense Department review and certification from the military that troop morale wouldn’t suffer.
That legislation passed the House but was blocked in the Senate by Republicans.
Gates has said the purpose of his study isn’t to determine whether to change the law – something he says is probably inevitable but up for Congress to decide. Instead, the study is intended to determine how to lift the ban without causing serious disruption at a time when troops are fighting two wars.
“The president has taken a very consistent position here, and that is: ‘Look, I will not use my discretion in any way that will step on Congress’ ability to be the sole decider about this policy here,’ ” said Diane H. Mazur, legal co-director of the Palm Center, a think tank at the University of California at Santa Barbara that supports a repeal.
Government attorneys had warned Phillips that such an abrupt change might harm military operations in a time of war. They had asked Phillips to limit her ruling to the 19,000 members of the Log Cabin Republicans, which includes current and former military service members.
The Department of Justice attorneys also said Congress should decide the issue – not her court.
Phillips disagreed, saying the law doesn’t help military readiness and instead has a “direct and deleterious effect” on the armed services by hurting recruiting during wartime and requiring the discharge of service members with critical skills and training.
“Furthermore, there is no adequate remedy at law to prevent the continued violation of servicemembers’ rights or to compensate them for violation of their rights,” Phillips said in her order.
She said Department of Justice attorneys did not address these issues in their objection to her expected injunction.
Phillips declared the law unconstitutional after listening to the testimony of discharged service members during a two-week nonjury trial this summer in federal court in Riverside.She said the Log Cabin Republicans “established at trial that the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell Act irreparably injures servicemembers by infringing their fundamental rights.” She said the policy violates due process rights, freedom of speech and the right to petition the government for redress of grievances guaranteed by the First Amendment.Phillips is the second federal judge in recent weeks to throw the law into disarray.
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A federal judge last month in Tacoma, Wash., ruled that a decorated flight nurse discharged from the Air Force for being gay should be given her job back as soon as possible. Barring an appeal, Maj. Margaret Witt who was suspended in 2004, will now be able to serve despite being openly gay.Gay rights advocates have worried they lost a crucial opportunity to change the law when Senate Republicans opposed the defense bill last month because of a “don’t ask, don’t tell” repeal provision.If Democrats lose seats in the upcoming elections, repealing the ban could prove even more difficult – if not impossible – next year.The “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy prohibits the military from asking about the sexual orientation of service members but bans those who are openly gay. Under the 1993 policy, service men and women who acknowledge being gay or are discovered engaging in homosexual activity, even in the privacy of their own homes off base, are subject to discharge.Associated Press Writer Anne Flaherty contributed to this report from Washington, D.C.
Filed under: Nation

Don’t Ask Don’t Tell: Interesting How Some Democrats Want to Continue the Ban

Even a nice day in Carmel, CA can dampen. And yesterday’s vote to continue DADT did worse than that to millions of lgbt people around the globe.

But what I find interesting is how the mainstream media is saying the GOP blocked the repeal. And I’m not even very political. I know the GOP didn’t help us, but seriously, the Democrats are supposed to be on our side and some still voted to continue the ban.

I did a little checking to see who voted for continuing DADT and who voted for stopping it. It’s interesting to read. I’ve posted it below for anyone else who is interested in seeing exactly what happened. And, even sadder for me, some of the Democrats who voted against the repeal are in my own state, Pennsylvania (cringe).

After reading the way some Democrats voted, I’m starting to think my gay republican friends from the Log Cabin Club haven’t been completely wrong. Because if a Democratic elected official is not on my side, I’m not voting for them. We’ve supported too many Democratic candidates in the past who have ignored us and turned their backs on us when we need them the most, especially when it comes to marriage.

by Ken Rudin

In the wake of yesterday’s House vote — 234 to 194 — to repeal the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy that bars gays and bisexuals from serving openly in the military* — one thing stood out the most:




Rep. Mark Critz, the Pennsylvania Democrat who won last week’s special election to succeed the late John Murtha (D), a victory heralded by Democrats everywhere, voted to continue the ban.

Rep. Charles Djou, the Hawaii Republican who won Saturday’s special election to succeed gov candidate Neil Abercrombie (D), a victory heralded by Republicans everywhere, voted to repeal the ban.



Five Republicans, along with 229 Democrats, voted in favor of repealing the ban. The five Republicans: Judy Biggert (Ill.), Joseph Cao (La.), Charles Djou (Haw.), Ron Paul (Tex.) and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (Fla.).

Opposing the repeal were 26 Democrats, along with 168 Republicans. The 26 Dems: Marion Berry (Ark.), Sanford Bishop (Ga.), Rick Boucher (Va.), Bobby Bright (Ala.), Chris Carney (Pa.), Travis Childers (Miss.), Jerry Costello (Ill.), Mark Critz (Pa.), Lincoln Davis (Tenn.), Joe Donnelly (Ind.), Chet Edwards (Tex.), Bob Etheridge (N.C.), Gene Green (Tex.), Daniel Lipinski (Ill.), Jim Marshall (Ga.), Mike McIntyre (N.C.), Solomon Ortiz (Tex.), Colin Peterson (Minn.), Earl Pomeroy (N.D.), Nick Rahall (W.Va.), Mike Ross (Ark.), Heath Shuler (N.C.), Ike Skelton (Mo.), John Spratt (S.C.), John Tanner (Tenn.) and Gene Taylor (Miss.).

*Officially, the House vote enabled a repeal of “don’t ask, don’t tell” 60 days after the military, in a report due by Dec. 1, decided it would not be disruptive.

Update at 1:15 p.m. ET: And if you want to see how all the representatives voted, here’s a link to the official roll call.