Thursday, November 18, 2010




A coalition of Nevada's LGBTQ activists and veterans met with John Ensign's Las Vegas staff to discuss the repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell

Las Vegas, NV -- This afternoon US Senator John Ensign's (R-NV) Regional Representative Margot Allen told a group of local LGBTQ activists and veterans Senator Ensign will vote to pass the National Defense Authorization Act with the repeal of the discriminatory "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy, that bans gays from serving openly in the military.

Led by Nevada State Senator David Parks, a veteran and the state's first openly gay legislator, Ms. Allen was pointedly asked several times if Senator Ensign supported the repeal and she said under no uncertain terms: Senator John Ensign does not support the Don't Ask Don't Tell policy and will vote to repeal it. Ms. Allen explained that after the Pentagon releases the findings of its study on the effects of repealing the ban, he will vote "YES" to pass the National Defense Authorization Act with the repeal included. Ms. Allen also stated that any news reports citing Senator Ensign as against the repeal were false.

Prior to meeting with Senator Ensign's staff, Stonewall Democratic Club of Southern Nevada's chairman Derek Washington arranged for the group to meet with US Senator Majority Leader Harry Reid's Las Vegas office.

The group was assured that Senator Reid continues to work hard to get the Defense Authorization Act passed with Don't Ask Don't Tell repeal. Senator Reid wants the bill passed in a reasonable amount of time, but wants to also work with Republican leadership to have a fair and rational amendment process.

It is with great pride that we can now say both of our Senator's from Nevada support the repeal of one of the most blatant examples of institutionalized discrimination. We have watched with sickened hearts as people like Senator John McCain of Arizona act like petulant children and continue to defy and disrespect military generals, the Secretary of Defense, President Obama and worst, our troops.

In a press release issued last week Senators Joe Lieberman (I-CT), Mark Udall (D-CO), and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) stated:

“The Senate should act immediately to debate and pass a defense authorization bill and repeal ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ during the lame duck session. The Senate has passed a defense bill for forty-eight consecutive years. We should not fail to meet that responsibility now, especially while our nation is at war. We must also act to put an end to the ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ policy that not only discriminates against but also dishonors the service of gay and lesbian service members.

“The National Defense Authorization Act is essential to the safety and well-being of our service members and their families, as well as for the success of military operations around the world. The bill will increase the pay of all service members, authorize needed benefits for our veterans and wounded warriors, and launch military construction projects at bases throughout the country.

“The process established by the defense bill would also allow ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ to be repealed in an orderly manner, and only after the President, Secretary of Defense, and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff have certified to Congress that repeal is ‘consistent with the standards of military readiness, military effectiveness, unit cohesion, and recruiting and retention of the Armed Forces.’ If Congress does not act to repeal ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ in an orderly manner that leaves control with our nation’s military leaders, a federal judge may do so unilaterally in a way that is disruptive to our troops and ongoing military efforts. It is important that ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ be dealt with this year, and it appears that the only way that can happen is if it is on the defense bill.

“We are pleased that Secretary of Defense Robert Gates has also called on Congress to repeal ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.’ We must act upon our responsibility to our troops and their family members and to the thousands of gay and lesbian service members who serve their nation bravely and honorably by passing the National Defense Authorization Act before the end of the year.”

We call on all LGBTQ activists, allies and veterans to call on their Senators, especially those who live in Maine, Ohio and Arkansas, and tell them that they can not, with good conscious, end the year without passing this bill, with the inclusion of the repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell

Organizations present:

Stonewall Democratic Club of Southern Nevada

Stonewall Democrats of Nevada

Progressive Leadership Alliance of Nevada

Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network of Southern Nevada

Equality Nevada

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