We’re in the final push for repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” and we need your help.
Justin Elzie was the first Marine discharged under DADT and was also the first Marine to challenge the law in court. During the short window in which lesbian, gay, and bisexual soldiers were permitted to openly and honestly enlist in the military, I was so proud to watch Justin accompany Lt. Dan Choi as he attempted to re-enlist at the Times Square Recruiting Center.
Justin and I thought it would be great if organizers took action during the entire week of Veterans Day, building on the actions of My Patriot’s Pride and creating momentum across the country for DADT repeal as Members of Congress return to DC for the lame-duck session. As legislators head back to Washington — THE LAST LEGISLATIVE SESSION to address DADT repeal this year — there is no better time to take our message into the states and into the streets.
I’m passing his message along to you, with the hope that you’ll organize in your own community — at a local recruiting center, military base or Veteran’s Day event — to honor the lives and service of LGBT veterans as we approach the last stretch to end discrimination under DADT once and for all!
- Robin McGehee
It’s only been three days since Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid narrowly held on to his seat, and he’s already starting to falter in his commitment to repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” this year. While the advocacy community knows that he must bring up the National Defense Authorization Act (containing repeal of DADT) before the Thanksgiving recess this month, it appears that Senator Reid is backpedaling from that commitment. 
It’s Senator Reid’s job to make this work. It’s his job to line up the votes to get repeal of DADT through the Senate this year. And it’s his job to make good on the promises that he and other Democratic leaders have made to the LGBT community that they would repeal — by the end of 2010 — the policy that ended my career.
Now that he’s won his job back, we want him to keep his promise. Immediately.
There are events and actions happening all over the country next week, and we need you to take this fight into your own hands. There are many events already planned, but there isn’t anything in your immediate area at this moment.
Will you organize an event?
Thanks for all you’re doing for LGBT equality. I appreciate it more than you know — as do the 14,000+ other servicemembers who have been discharged under this policy.
United States Marine Corps Sergeant Justin Elzie came out publicly on ABC Evening World News in January 1993. He became the first Marine discharged under “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” and was later reinstated, becoming the first Marine to challenge the policy with a Federal Court Case. Justin went on to serve four years openly gay. He was described by his superiors as an exemplary Marine with two meritorious promotions, being named Marine of the Year and serving as an American Embassy Guard. After coming out he was recommended for promotion and served as a Platoon Sergeant in charge of Marines on a ship and in the field. He testified at the Senate Hearings opposite General Schwarzkopf, and his story appeared on ABC, CNN, NPR and in The New York Times. Justin Elzie is the author of the soon to be published book “Playing by the Rules.”
 “I had a nice conversation with the Chairman Levin today. He is anxious to move forward on [National Defense Authorization Act]. The problem we have with a defense authorization bill is that it takes a while to get it done. If we could get some agreement from the Republicans that we could move the bill without a lot of extraneous amendments, I think it is something we can work out. Time agreements on a few amendments, that would be my goal.” (Nov 3, 2010, conference call with Sen. Harry Reid — http://wonkroom.thinkprogress.org/2010/11/03/obama-presser-dadt/)