Friday, June 22, 2012

Adm. Mike Mullen to Headline SLDN Anniversary of DADT's End

Elaine Donnelly's and Tony Perkins' heads must be exploding at the news that retired Admiral Mike Mullen - former head of the Joints Chiefs - will be headlining the SLDN event celebrating the end of Don't Ask, Don't Tell.  To listen to Donnelly and Perkins one would think America is on the verge of collapse now that gays are allowed to serve openly in our military.  Never mind that much of the original founding and training of the nation's army traces back to a gay many who helped the United States win independence from Great Britain (a topic I will write more about soon on this blog and in a VEER Magazine column).  The reality is that none of the horrors that the Christofascists predicted have come to pass with the demise of DADT.  Indeed, the only thing that did happen was that the hate merchants like Perkins and Donnelly can no longer point to DADT as evidence that their anti-gay bigotry is justified.  Metro Weekly looks at the coming celebration and Admiral Mullen's role in it.  Here are some excerpts:

On Sept. 18, retired Admiral Mike Mullen, the former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, will join Servicemembers Legal Defense Network aboard the USS Intrepid in New York City to mark the one-year anniversary of the end of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," the group is telling supporters today.

In an email being sent to supporters today, SLDN executive director Aubrey Sarvis wrote of the fundraising event, "This historic and emotional event presents a unique -- indeed, a once in a lifetime -- opportunity to reinforce the meaningful part that Admiral Mullen played in the DADT repeal process."

Mullen took the lead on making the case to Congress to repeal DADT, telling the Senate Armed Services Committee on Feb. 2, 2010, that he supported repeal -- and made a moral case for doing so.

"Speaking for myself and myself only, it is my personal belief that allowing gays and lesbians to serve openly would be the right thing to do," he told the committee. "No matter how I look at this issue, I cannot escape being troubled by the fact that we have in place a policy that forces young men and women to lie about who they are in order to defend their fellow citizens. For me, personally, it comes down to integrity: Theirs as individuals and ours as an institution."

Of the troops, Mullen added: "I also believe that the great young men and women of our military can and would accommodate such a change. I never underestimate their ability to adapt."

The event, which SLDN spokesman Zeke Stokes says will be a fundraiser for SLDN, will be the lead event of a week of events by the group to mark the anniversary.

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