October 23, 2010
What's Next for "Don't Ask, Don't Tell?"
Tell President Obama to End "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" once and for all.
The military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" (DADT) policy is in the news a lot these days. And it seems as if this discriminatory and unconstitutional policy is teetering—ready to fall.
As you know, the courts keep striking serious blows against DADT. Recently, the ACLU won a major victory when a judge ordered the reinstatement of an Air Force Major wrongfully discharged under DADT. And a federal court in California, in a case brought by the Log Cabin Republicans, ordered an end to enforcement of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell."
But, our elected leaders—starting with the President—have to stop avoiding efforts to end DADT and, instead, start seizing them.
It is time for President Obama to lead by putting a decisive end to DADT, and he should seize this opportunity by making clear that he will not take any further steps to try to reinstate this discriminatory policy. The president recently said he cannot end this policy with the stroke of a pen, but the Obama administration can set this right if Attorney General Eric Holder simply refrains from pursuing the appeal of the judicial order ending the policy. Our men and women in uniform deserve to serve their country with dignity, and the time to act is now.
>> Take action: Tell President Obama to End "Don't Ask, Don't Tell."
The Best Person for the Job...Fired for Being Gay.
The ACLU filed a lawsuit on behalf of Andre Cooley, a corrections officer for the Forrest County Sherriff’s Department who was fired when his supervisors discovered that he was gay.
>> Watch the video to learn more.
Andre Cooley, a corrections officer with an exemplary record for the Forrest County Sherriff's Department in Mississippi, was fired when his supervisors discovered that he was gay. The ACLU filed a lawsuit this week on his behalf.
This past June, while at home and off-duty, Cooley called 911 after his boyfriend became physically violent. When police officers arrived at the house in response to the emergency call, Andre's boyfriend "outed" him to one of his superiors. The next day, the Staff Sergeant of Jail Operations informed Andre that he was being permanently terminated. Andre asked the staff sergeant if he was being fired because he was gay, and the staff sergeant responded, "Yes."
"Andre's sexual orientation has no bearing on his ability to perform the job of a corrections officer," said Joshua Block, staff attorney with the ACLU Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Project. "It is well established that a public employer cannot fire an employee based on irrational fears and prejudices against gay people. But Andre's case is also a reminder that people in Mississippi who work for private companies are left almost entirely unprotected from anti-gay discrimination. There is currently no state or federal law protecting against employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation."
The Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) would make it illegal to discriminate against an employee for being gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender. President Obama has said he will sign ENDA if it passes Congress, but even though ENDA was first introduced over 16 years ago and has broad support in both the Senate and the House, it still has not passed Congress.
Take action: Urge Congress to support the Employment Non-Discrimination Act.
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