The Human Rights Campaign and Servicemembers Legal Defense Network have launched a new grassroots campaign to increase support and to press for passage of âDonât Ask, Donât Tellâ (DA/DT) repeal in the U.S. Senate as well as passage of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) in the U.S. House. This nationwide campaign will mobilize grassroots supporters of equality across the country through in-district meetings as well as a call-in and email campaign.
The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) is one of Americaâs largest civil rights organizations working to achieve lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender equality. By inspiring and engaging all Americans, HRC strives to end discrimination against LGBT citizens and realize a nation that achieves fundamental fairness and equality for all. Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (SLDN) is a national, nonprofit legal services and policy organization dedicated to ending âDonât Ask, Donât Tell,â the ban on queers openly serving in the military.
âWe need supporters to contact their senators and tell them to repeal âDonât Ask, Donât Tellâ and follow the lead of Chairman Carl Levin who will be managing the defense bill on the floor,â said Aubrey Sarvis, Army veteran and executive director for Servicemembers Legal Defense Network. âIt is critical that we beat back any filibuster threat; defeat attempts to strike repeal; and defeat any crippling amendments.â Sarvis added, âSenators need to hear from us now, especially in the 10 key states where our combined SLDN and HRC field teams are working now.â
âAs we approach the waning days of this Congressional session, we must continue to demand immediate action on critical legislation,â said HRC President Joe Solmonese. âLGBT voters and our allies will be keenly aware of Congressional action or inaction as the November elections approach.â
HRCâs and SLDNâs efforts will be specifically focused on 10 states with key lawmakers whose votes on DA/DT repeal are critical: Arkansas, Indiana, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, and Virginia. HRC will also engage the LGBT community and their allies in those states on ENDA, in addition to on-the-ground work for ENDA in North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Texas.
Supporters of equality are encouraged to meet with representatives and senators while they are in their districts and states for the August Congressional recess.
To participate, activists can sign up at countdown2010.hrc.org . There they will find downloadable meeting toolkits, videos on in-district meetings, and information on how to schedule a meeting and report back on how it went.
âLGBT people and our allies can make a real difference by making their voices heard face-to-face and in the districts where they live,â added Solmonese. âMany of us are frustrated with the pace of progress, and this is a way to get involved to make change happen.â