Shock: Two Gay Military Groups Come Out in Support of Passing Defense Bill Without ‘DADT’ Repeal Amendment

Two gay military groups, Knights Out (a group originally formed by Dan Choi and 37 West Point grads in support of LGBT people serving openly in the military) and Outserve (an underground network of actively serving LGBT service members), will reportedly release a statement that they support the Defense bill without the DADT repeal amendment.

Ko_outserve Politico's Morning Defense reports:

Two gay troops’ groups will announce today that they’d support breaking off DADT repeal if doing so would help the defense authorization act pass – but they’ll keep pushing for repeal in the lame-duck Congress, Morning Defense has learned. The statement from OutServe and Knights Out is just one prong in a complex offensive planned for lawmakers’ return to Washington this week, organizers said. 

“On behalf of the more than 1,000 active duty gay and lesbian service members and 500 gay and lesbian veterans we represent, we respectfully urge Congress to pass the FY 2011 National Defense Authorization Act to fund the aircraft, weapons, combat vehicles, ammunition and promised pay-raises for all troops, whether or not the repeal of don't ask, don't tell is included,” the statement will say. “To be clear, we will continue to fight for our integrity as gay and lesbian service members and we hope that legislative action in Congress can be taken in 2010 to lift the ban.” 

I don't get it. No doubt we'll be hearing more on this report later.

UPDATE: Here's the joint statement from OutServe and Knights Out:

"There is nothing more important than loyalty to those with whom we serve. This means ensuring that no one issue interferes with funding the courageous and selfless work our fellow service members are doing around the world. Therefore, on behalf of the more than 1,000 active duty gay and lesbian service members and 500 gay and lesbian veterans we represent, we respectfully urge Congress to pass the FY 2011 National Defense Authorization Act to fund the aircraft, weapons, combat vehicles, ammunition and promised pay-raises for all troops, whether or not the repeal of "don't ask, don't tell" is included."

"To be clear, we will continue to fight for our integrity as gay and lesbian service members and we hope that legislative action in Congress can be taken in 2010 to lift the ban. With the support of President Obama, Chairman Mullen, Secretary Gates and the reported seventy-percent of service members surveyed, a new day of openly gay service is at hand if Congress acts during this lame duck session. We are proud to serve in the United States Armed Forces today and tomorrow."

More on the groups: "OutServe is a network of approximately 1,000 active-duty soldiers, sailors, Marines, airmen, and members of the Coast Guard. JD Smith is a pseudonym. Knights Out is an organization of West Point alumni, staff and faculty who are united in supporting the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender soldiers to openly serve their country. The group has 203 members and graduate supporters and 462 allies."

The joint statement was sent from the Palm Center.

REACTIONS

The Human Rights Campaign (HRC), Servicemember Legal Defense Network (SLDN), Servicemembers United (SU) and the Center for American Progress (CAP) reject Outserve and Knights Out position:

"The Human Rights Campaign (HRC), Servicemember Legal Defense Network (SLDN), Servicemembers United (SU) and the Center for American Progress (CAP), today united to send one strong and consistent message to senators as they return for the lame duck session: repeal the unjust and discriminatory law known as “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” as part of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) this year. Under no conditions should DADT repeal be stripped from the underlying Defense Authorization bill; that is simply a non-starter."

Dan Choi's reaction:

Chooi

Posted November 15, 2010 at 10:24am ETC by Andy Towle
in Julie Bindel