Last Chance to End Discrimination in the Military?

Since a federal judge in Riverside recently ruled the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy to be unconstitutional right around the time that the US Senate failed to end a filibuster blocking the legislative repeal of that policy, the stakes have never been higher for finally ending discrimination in our armed forces. The lame duck session of Congress may be our last chance to get this repealed through Congress.

That is why the Courage Campaign is teaming up with Rep. Patrick Murphy to collect petition signatures to force a vote on DADT before the 111th Congress ends. Once the 112th is seated – with a Republican majority in the House and reduced Democratic majorities in the Senate – legislative repeal becomes impossible, and a future president could simply order the policy to be continued even if Obama finally agrees to end it himself (which he should).

Rep. Murphy has pledged to deliver the signatures on this petition – and nearly 600,000 other signatures collected by Courage Campaign in support of repeal – once the lame-duck session begins.

In addition, Rep. Murphy – himself a veteran – will bring signatures from active-duty soldiers, veterans, and their families. If you’re one of those, click here to add your name.

Discrimination in our armed forces has gone on long enough. Let’s end it this year.

See below for the email Rep. Murphy sent to our members.

(Note: I am the Public Policy Director at the Courage Campaign)

With the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” facing uncertainty in the U.S. Senate, Congressman Patrick J. Murphy asked us to send this message to you before Veterans Day this Thursday. Born and raised in Philadelphia, Congressman Murphy is the son of a police officer and a legal secretary, a proud husband and father, a former West Point professor, and an Iraq war veteran.

Rick Jacobs

Chair, Courage Campaign

Dear Robert —

When I take on a job, I finish it.  

After September 11, I volunteered to fight for my country. I became a Captain in the U.S. Army and was awarded a Bronze Star while serving in Iraq. While in Baghdad, I counseled many active-duty servicemembers who came to me with tortured souls, concerned that their sexual orientation might end their military careers, as a result of the military’s discriminatory “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy.  

One particular soldier’s internal conflict was profound. I can still remember his pained and heartbreaking questions. Should he lie? Should he tell the truth and then be kicked out of the Army? What would he do if he was wounded and couldn’t tell the person he loved?

When I ran for public office in 2006, I became the first Iraq war veteran to be elected to Congress. Unfortunately, my time in the House of Representatives will be coming to an end soon — but I still have some unfinished business. Last May, I promised those young men and women whom I counseled that I would do everything in my power to put an end to DADT so they could serve their country openly and proudly.  

That’s why I led the fight in the House to repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” passing historic legislation in May that is now in limbo in the Senate. With Veterans Day coming up on Thursday and only a few weeks left until the Senate’s lame-duck session ends, the clock is running out on repeal — perhaps for years to come.

Now I’m asking you to help me finish the job. With the lame-duck session starting Monday, I need you to sign the Courage Campaign’s petition to Senators Reid, Levin, McConnell and McCain immediately. Once the U.S. Senate is back in session, I’ll deliver your signature — and nearly 600,000 other signatures collected by Courage supporting repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”

To amplify the voices of those most impacted by this policy, we’re looking for veterans — and their friends, family and neighbors — to take action before Veterans Day. Whether you are a veteran, or just want to sign on in support, please click one of the following two links:

OPTION 1: Are you a military veteran, a member of a military family, or do you know a veteran? CLICK HERE TO SIGN.

OPTION 2: If you are NOT a veteran, CLICK HERE TO SIGN.

Even though a CNN poll showed that 78% of Americans think the ban should end and even though the Secretary of Defense and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs have said it should end, John McCain and others still think this is a political issue.

It’s not a political issue. It’s a matter of national security. It’s a matter of integrity. It’s a matter of honor.

We’ve worked hard over the last two years to end this discriminatory policy. Let’s get the job done.

Representative Patrick Murphy

Bristol, Pennsylvania