A statement from Executive Director Kate Kendell

(San Francisco, CA, September 21, 2010)—Today, the U.S. Senate failed to break a filibuster to start a debate on the National Defense Authorization Act, which contains an amendment that would enable the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, the federal government’s policy barring lesbian, gay, and bisexual people from serving openly in the military.

Statement by NCLR Executive Director Kate Kendell:

“It is unfathomable that the largest government employer—the military—is able to openly discriminate against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender service members.

As long as this discriminatory policy stands, others have a green light to treat us as unequal. How can LGBTQ children be safe in their schools if the message from the government itself is that LGBTQ people can’t be trusted?

This is a wakeup call. An overwhelming majority of people in this country support the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. But even with popular support, our elected officials lack the courage to repeal this blatantly discriminatory policy. This shows us that we do not have political allies who are willing to stand up for us when it counts.

Each of us must understand that there’s only one person who can determine the fate of equality for the LGBTQ community in this country. And that person is you. Only when every person in our community refuses to accept being treated as a second-class citizen will our elected representatives feel the pressure to end this shameful government-mandated discrimination.

Every one of us must become fully engaged in this struggle. Talk to your friends, your family, your co-workers, and tell them why you need their support for full equality. Encourage them to stay informed about the discriminatory laws and policies that hurt us, and to demand justice from the people we voted into office—and make sure you’re doing the same yourself. We must do more, and we must hold our elected officials accountable. This cannot happen again.”

Watch Kendell’s video statement

The National Center for Lesbian Rights is a national legal organization committed to advancing the civil and human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people and their families through litigation, public policy advocacy, and public education.