“Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” Could Be Decided Tonight

Want to help the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell? The vote on it might take place this very night as part of a larger defense bill, so things are moving fast.

According to the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, the vote is too close to call and the following senators are particularly needed:

Susan Collins (R-ME);
Olympia Snowe (R-ME);
Richard Lugar (R-IN);
Judd Gregg (R-NH);
Scott Brown (R-MA);
George Voinovich (R-OH);
Kit Bond (R-MO);
Lisa Murkowski (R-AK);
Mark Kirk (R-IL)

Another way to get personally involved is to sign the Love and Integrity Pledge, a petition set up by Ms.’s publisher, the Feminist Majority Foundation (FMF). The petition gets right to the point, saying:

Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell should be repealed! All people deserve the right to serve in the military regardless of gender and sexual orientation. People who sacrifice their lives for their country should not have to sacrifice their integrity as well.

FMF President Eleanor Smeal is urging activists to get “thousands of feminist voices” behind the cause. She stated in an email alert:

Lesbian women are disproportionately ousted as a result of DADT. In 2009, 48% of those discharged from the Army were women, even though women make up only 14% of the Army. Women were more than half of those discharged from the Air Force, where women make up 20% of the service. In the Marines, women make up just 6% of the force, but were 23% of discharges under the policy. Women comprise 14% of the Navy, but were 27% of the discharges under DADT.

While the email concentrates on the plight of lesbian servicewomen, it’s of course more than that. Since DADT was implemented in the 90s, more than 14,000 women and men have been taken out of the army for their sexuality, not their work ethic. Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell has been making headlines a lot lately, with more and more people openly speaking out for its repeal. This petition is one way to make a difference, if enough of us can get behind it and stand up for equality.

Photo from Flickr.com user A. Blight through Creative Commons License 2.0

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