It's not dead yet, folks. Last year Judge Virginia Phillips issued an opinion calling Don't Ask/Don't Tell unconstitutional and ordered the Department of Defense to stop enforcing it. The 9th Circuit issued a stay on that order, which they subsequently lifted last week. Many thought this may indeed be the end of Don't Ask/Don't Tell, and the Defense Department began issuing orders to recruiting stations to stop excluding gay soldiers.
Fast forward to today, where the Department of Justice has filed an emergency motion asking the 9th Circuit to reverse their decision to lift the stay, effectively putting the ban on gay soldiers back into place.
You don't know me, but I know you. I've been following your work for several years now. I'm writing to you from a hotel room in Minneapolis, Minnesota, where the Netroots Nation conference is being held. This is my fifth Netroots Nation conference, and somehow every year we always end up talking about you.
I have two messages for you, Maggie. The first is a message of thanks.
It's become a bit of a tradition for me in the last five years to pick a night during Netroots Nation, hole myself up in my hotel with a bit of food (Pizza Lucé this time) and write a diary. Sure, tradition is good...but I'm starting to feel like Netroots Nation and the Netroots in general are a bit of a broken record. I've sat through five conventions now, countless panels with all sorts of speakers all trying to answer some variation on the following question: "How do we get all of the various progressive segments together and leverage our power for political and social change?"
Stop talking. Stop navel gazing. Just DO it already.
...yes, I have a point. I promise. Click? Please?
Multiple sources (including the National Journal and Norah O'Donnell of NBC) are reporting that President Obama will give an impromptu televised statement TONIGHT at 10:30PM Eastern. The subject of the address has not been announced.
(This diary is obviously a shell and will be updated as the evening goes on.)
Let the speculation begin...
Earlier today I asked my Twitter friends whether I should stand up at my desk and shout a short speech on why I'm wearing a purple shirt today. The response, naturally, was tepid, so instead I'll share it with all of you. Originally I wore purple for Spirit Day, a show of support and solidarity for LGBT youth, a way of sending a message that yes, it does get better.
Now, I'm wearing my purple shirt in mourning for Corey Jack. Corey was a 19-year-old student at Oakland University outside Detroit, and this morning he was found dead on campus, an apparent suicide. It's too early to know why Corey took his life (and we may never know), but he's not alone. The news article in my email about Corey's death makes note of the fact that at least a dozen LGBT teenagers have committed suicide in the last six weeks. It's time to put a stop to that.
"The streets of heaven are too crowded with angels..." --variously attributed to Tom Hanks, President Jed Bartlet or Sam Seaborn of The West Wing.
They're even more crowded this morning. It happened again. Earlier this week, thirteen-year-old Asher Brown's life ended at the end of a gun. He had endured day after day of relentless bullying, taunting and teasing at school and couldn't take it anymore. His parents say they warned the school repeatedly and begged them for help, to no avail.
The Christmas dance.
The Pops concert in the spring.
The life of a high school student is marked not just in classes and tests, but in rites of passage, events every student participates in and will remember for the rest of their lives. Twenty years later, most people can tell you how they spent Homecoming week their senior year; these are memories that last a lifetime.
Last year there was a bit of a hullabaloo when Constance McMillen, a high school student in Mississippi, had the audacity to suggest that she should be able to come to her high school's prom...with her girlfriend. This time it's happening in my backyard. 17-year-old Oakleigh Reed, a student at Mona Shores High School in suburban Muskegon, had the audacity to run for Homecoming King...but Oakleigh is transgendered, so the school district is flipping their collective shit.
Earlier today Joe Jervis of Joe.My.God. put up a post about today's Don't Ask/Don't Tell vote, and the post garnered a comment from a poster named "Jimmy" saying "All faggots must die."
In his haste, Jimmy forgot that gays are smart, Blogger logs IP addresses, and he was using a computer linked to the US Senate network.
...over the flip...
(Provocative title FTW!)
Yesterday the New York Times published an op-ed by the rather unfortunately named Charles Blow*, detailing a new Gallup study indicating that the general public’s attitudes toward the LGBT community have changed substantially.
First and foremost, the study contains awesome news: this is the first poll in which the majority of respondents indicate that they find "gay and lesbian relations" to be "morally acceptable." In other words, Tony Perkins and the religious crazyballs are losing their death grip on public discourse as it relates to my personal life. Yay for that. The study also indicates that there has been a seismic shift in the attitudes of men; the percentage of men who find gay "relations" morally acceptable has risen 48 percent over four years ago. The Meathead Straight Guy is a dying breed. Yay for that as well.
(Holy criminy I hate "BREAKING" diaries. Someone please flog me.)
UPDATED 2:00PM Eastern: Via @kerryeleveld of The Advocate, Lt. Choi and Capt. Pietrangelo have been arrested and removed from the fence.
I'm waiting for a "mainstream" news source to put this up, but the DC Agenda (formerly known as the Washington Blade) is reporting via its Twitter feed that Lt. Dan Choi, the West Point alum who cofounded Knights Out and has quickly become a leading voice for the repeal of Don't Ask/Don't Tell, has chained himself to the fence in front of the White House.
Choi had recently been deployed on active duty, but was in DC today to testify at a Senate hearing on the DADT repeal. I don't have much to go on here, but we'll piece it together over the fold...
This just landed in my inbox, and it's worth talking about. This morning the New York Daily News is carrying snippets from an exclusive interview with everyone's favorite headache of a senator, Joe Lieberman.
Next week, the Connecticut senator will announce that he's taking the lead on repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell, the 1993 law that prohibits gay people from serving openly in the armed forces. Since implementation of the statute nearly 20 years ago, the military has discharged some 14,000 qualified men and women, many of them serving in critical jobs like Arabic and Persian translation.