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Gay Servicemembers United urges Sen. Harry Reid to bring up defense bill in lame duck session

News release from Servicemembers United:

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Servicemembers United, the nation's largest organization of gay and lesbian troops and veterans, today renewed its call on Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to bring the National Defense Authorization Act back up for reconsideration under reasonable procedural conditions before the Senate recesses for the Thanksgiving holiday. Senator Reid, and Senator Reid alone, ultimately controls how the defense authorization bill will be brought back up, and whether it will get brought up in enough time for it to be completed by the end of the year.

"The path to getting defense authorization and 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' wrapped up this year is narrow, but that path is also crystal clear," said Alexander Nicholson, Executive Director of Servicemembers United. "There is neither time nor any good reason to delay bringing the authorization bill back up for reconsideration, and the first concrete action on the bill absolutely must occur before the Senate's Thanksgiving recess. A handful of angry and unreasonable Republicans will certainly try to obstruct, but the key to success is going to be striking a deal with a few moderate and reasonable Republicans to proceed on the bill. The McCain contingent should be irrelevant to securing that agreement."

Last week, Servicemembers United released a video message to its members and the public laying out the only realistic path to finishing the defense authorization bill by the end of the year. Given that the bill's sponsor, Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin, has said that the bill will take up to two weeks on the Senate floor, and given that the bill is widely known to take at least two weeks to conference, the finite Senate calendar during the lame duck session will require work to begin on the bill immediately after the Senate reconvenes in mid-November.

Also, the report of the Pentagon's Comprehensive Review Working Group is due to be completed on December 1st. This proximity now means that Senators can vote for the defense authorization bill to proceed to debate secure in the knowledge that their final vote on the actual 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' provision will not be required until well after the Pentagon's report has been completed and released.

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Servicemembers United, a non-profit and non-partisan organization, is the nation's largest organization of gay and lesbian troops and veterans and their allies. Based in Washington, DC, Servicemembers United actively engages in education and advocacy on issues affecting the gay military, veteran, and defense community.

Last week, Servicemembers United released an iPhone app with up-to-date information about Don't Ask, Don't Tell. From the website:

Servicemembers United’s “Repeal DADT” iPhone application provides users with a wide array of current information on the status of DADT, facts and talking points, extensive polling data on gays in the military, and links to DADT-related social media sites and ongoing online campaigns. The app also provides contact information for the senate offices of each state and incorporates tap-to-call functionality, allowing users to call their senators’ offices directly from the app. More functionality and features will be added in subsequent updates.

This development and release of an iPhone application as a political advocacy tool is a first for an LGBT organization. Another application was released in 2009 that displays the rankings of private corporations with respect to LGBT equality, but that application contained no political advocacy functionality. The “Repeal DADT” iPhone app was developed for Servicemembers United by Wells Consulting, LLC of Washington, DC.

To download the “Repeal DADT” iPhone application, please visit the iPhone app store and search for “Repeal DADT.”

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