George Washingtons first Inspector General, the legendary Major General Baron Friedrich von Stueben, trained the Continental Army to win battles. This monument to him now stands near the White House. He was gay! Thousands of gays have served well in Iraq & Afghanistan, yet critical personnel have been discharged, including translators, pilots, medical & infantrymen.
DADT Federal law permits gays to serve in the military if they remain concealed and sexually inactive & discharges those who dont. Passed in 1993 under President Clinton it created more problems and increased the number of discharges for homosexuality. The existence of DADT encourages some to believe the military encourages bias toward homosexuals.
Military service is a respected career. Those who serve earn the same rights as all others who serve, including the right to marry. Passage of the Military Readiness Enhancement Act will improve military readiness & strengthen America. The right of Gay Americans to serve openly in the military is critical to all our broader civil rights !
If you are old enough to die for your country, you are old enough to vote! An Issue of the Vietnam War
Over 13,500 service members have been discharged since DADT began. Enough soldiers to fill an Army Division! Over 60 Arabic interpreters discharged for homosexuality when most needed in Iraq. Women in military are disproportionately affected by DADT.
Military members were murdered when perceived to be gay by fellow service members. 1999 – Fort Campbell, KY1992 – Sasebo, Japan PFC Barry WinchellSeaman Allen Schindler 2009 – Camp Pendleton, CA Seaman August Provost
Total "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" Discharges: 1994-2007
73 % of military personnel are comfortable with lesbians and gays (Zogby, 2006). One in four U.S. troops who served in Afghanistan or Iraq knows a member of their unit who is gay (Zogby, 2006). Majorities of weekly churchgoers (60 %), conservatives (58 %), and Republicans (58 %) now favor repeal (Gallup, 2009). 75 % of Americans support gays serving openly - up from just 44 % in 1993 (ABC News/ Washington Post, 2008).
Great Britain integrated gays without problems or personnel loss. Canada, Israel, France, Germany, Australia, NATO & others allow open gays to serve. Gays already serve in Iraq & Afghanistan in U.S. units & in Allied contingents alongside our troops.
Military Readiness Enhancement Act – repeals DADT & allows gays to serve openly. MREA passed House of Representatives 226-118 as part of DoD Appropriations bill. Sen Bingaman, Sen Udall, Rep Lujan & Rep Heinrich of NM support the bill at the urging of AVER. Senate Armed Services Committee passed in May 2010. Potential delay for study is unnecessary!
Bataan Chapter of AVER serves the gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender veterans, active duty and reserve service men & women of New Mexico with encouragement, support, social activities, networking and advocacy to repeal Dont Ask, Dont Tell.
Any currently serving military or veteran with an honorable discharge or discharge for homosexuality may join AVER. Auxiliary for partners and allies. Members participate in events, national and local news of gays in the military, individual support, fellowship & the opportunity to work for GLBT to serve openly in the military.
Lobbying Congress to repeal DADT at the Capitol in Washington, DC March 2009.
Color guard for the dedication of the Albuquerque GLBT Memorial June 2010. Morningside Park
Led the June 2010 Albuquerque Pride Parade up Central Ave.
Albuquerque Pride 2009 Veterans Information Booth Gays in Military History Display
Advocating individually for Gays in the military, AVER obtained Congressional support for the Military Readiness Enhancement Act which will repeal DADT. AVER Advocates in Senator Bingamans Conference room. New Mexico Congressional Delegation who support MREA: Senator Jeff Bingaman Senator Tom Udall Rep Martin Heinrich Rep Ben Ray Lujan Rep Harry Teague
New Mexico State Fair GLBT Information Booth September 2009.
Color guard - NATIONAL EQUALITY MARCH on Washington 12 October 2009. Marching with hundreds of Vets down Pennsylvania Avenue to the Capitol. Over 100,000 marched for gay civil rights
Color guard - Albuquerque 2009 VETERANS DAY PARADE for the first time. A completely positive reception.
End of Summer Meeting & Swim Party - supporters were recognized. Halloween Party – Attended by famous gay historical military members. Holiday Dinner - great food & fellowship.
Petty Officer 1 st Class (E6) Penn Baker served on nuclear missile submarines 1963 to 1970 On the USS George Bancroft qualified as an Engineering Watch Supervisor reserved for Chief Petty Officers. Penn was the youngest qualified EWS in the Navy at that time. After qualifying for & being recommended for Chief Petty Officer (E7) Chief Penn left the Navy to avoid possible discovery. The Navy lost a highly qualified nuclear submariner to private industry. Had Penn accepted the promotion to Chief Petty Officer he would have been the youngest serving E7 at the time.
Served with distinction as an Engineer, Inspector General and Corps Plans officer until discharged for homosexuality just 5 days before eligible for 20 year retirement. Received 4th Meritorious Service Medal just prior to the discharge. Interviewed on CBS 60 Minutes by Morley Safer. LTC Steve Loomis served as an infantry platoon leader in Vietnam. Decorated with 2 Bronze Stars, Purple Heart, Air Medal and the Combat Infantry Badge. Won back his Army retirement in Federal Court in 2005.
Petty Officer Second Class Steven Patten served on active duty in the US Navy from 1972 to 1978 as a Dental Laboratory Technician. Assigned to a Sea Bee construc- tion unit in San Diego as a reserve corpsman. Petty Officer Second Class Patten received an honorable discharge.
Tech Sgt Leonard Matlovich was the first to fight the military ban on gays, fought against AIDS & for full LGBT equality. He was wounded while serving in Vietnam with the US Air Force. Buried in the Congressional Cemetery in Washington, DC his epitaph reads: When I was in the military they gave me a medal for killing two men and a discharge for loving one.
West Point graduate and Iraq veteran fluent in Arabic, announced that he was gay on The Rachel Maddow Show in 2009. Despite one of only eight Arabic speakers in his graduating class, he is pending discharge for homosexuality. Actively working for repeal of DADT. 1LT Dan Choi - U.S. Army
Retired Supreme Allied Commander of NATO and former Presidential candidate said, …we need people in the military who want to be in the military. There are gays serving in the military… who don't want to compromise their values and look hypocritical. I think the policy needs to change. General Wesley Clark – U.S. Army Retired
1964 Presidential Candidate, former Republican Senator from Arizona, & USAF Reserve Major General said, … you can't determine the sexual orientation of the men buried on Omaha Beach. And, conservatives who supported the military ban were ignoring their movement's core principle, …that government should stay out of people's private lives.'' Senator Barry Goldwater
Former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff recently stated, As a nation built on the principle of equality, we should recognize and welcome change that will build a stronger, more cohesive military. It is time to repeal dont ask, dont tell and allow our military leaders to create policy that holds our service members to a single standard of conduct and discipline. General John Shalikashvili – U.S. Army Retired
In his 2010 State of the Union Address to Congress, said, This year, I will work with Congress and our military to finally repeal the law that denies gay Americans the right to serve the country they love because of who they are. President Barrack Obama
Servicemembers Legal Defense Network – (SLDN) provides support, legal advice & referrals to those in trouble with DADT and advocates the repeal of DADT. www.sldn.org
Of the University of California Santa Barbara provides dedicated academic research and analysis of the issues of DADT & actively pursues public, political & media awareness of the issues. www.palmcenter.org/ Palm Center
American Civil Liberties Union – advocates and defends Constitutional liberty issues, including the right of gays to serve openly in the military & protecting GLBT rights. www.aclu.org/
academygala.org/ Service Academy Gay & Lesbian Association SAGALA to provides a professional and social network for gay, lesbian, transgender and bisexual cadets, midshipmen and alumni who attended one of the five federal service academies.
www.hrc.org/ The Human Rights Campaign works to achieve equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Americans, & advocate on behalf of LGBT Americans, mobilize grassroots actions in diverse communities, invests strategically to elect fair- minded individuals to office and educates the public about LGBT issues.
www.pflag.org Parents, Friends & Family of Lesbians and Gays provides support and information to families & friends of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Americans, both nationally and locally in New Mexico.
www.abqpride.com Albuquerque Pride - provides a parade, festival, entertainment and GLBT and the community the opportunity to learn about lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Americans. Albuquerque Pride is New Mexicos largest and most attended GLBT event held every year in June for a week.
The military, must judge every soldier, straight or gay, not by what he or she does consensually in his or her private bedroom, but how well they do their job and if they succeed in their mission.
In the dust and mud of Vietnam soldiers slept side by side. We huddled against each other as rounds sailed toward our positions. No one asked if the guy beside them was gay, only if he had his steel pot on, his rifle ready and his mind clear. When equal rights are extended to gays, they will, as they always have, serve as well and as faithfully as all others. Few but themselves will notice any difference and our country will be safer for it. LTC Steve Loomis