Tuesday, April 12, 2011

WH initiative launched to support, honor America's service members, families - no gay fams invited

Cross Post from pamshouseblend.com 

by: Pam Spaulding

Tue Apr 12, 2011 at 12:00:00 PM EDT

A national initiative to recognize the contributions and sacrifices of America's service members and their families launches today, spearheaded by President Obama, Vice President Biden, First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden. The program is called Joining Forces, and there is a kick-off event today.
Joining Forces is spearheaded by Mrs. Obama and Dr. Biden, who have been leaders in supporting our nation's military families and advocating for their priorities. Joining Forces was created to address the unique challenges and needs of military families that Mrs. Obama and Dr. Biden have heard firsthand during meetings with military spouses, briefings with military leaders, and many visits to military communities at home and abroad, and through their work on military family priorities. Building on this groundwork, the initiative will focus on key priority areas - employment, education, and wellness, while engaging in a comprehensive effort to raise awareness about the service, sacrifice, and needs of military families. "Joining Forces was created to recognize and serve our nation's extraordinary military families who, like their loved ones in uniform, serve and sacrifice so much so that we can live in freedom and security," said Mrs. Obama. "This is a challenge to every segment of American society not to simply say thank you but to mobilize, take action and make a real commitment to supporting our military families."
Guess who won't be at the kickoff - gay families. Yet another reminder that DADT is still in place and the WH isn't budging on any proactive, even symbolic means to show its support before full repeal. Servicemembers United issued the following statement today on the White House's refusal to allow a civilian representative of gay and lesbian military families to be present at First Lady Michelle Obama's and Dr. Jill Biden's "Military Families Initiative" kick-off event at the White House:

"It is rather unfortunate that both East Wing and West Wing staff have refused to allow a representative of gay military families to even be in the room at an event that is supposed to honor their commitment and sacrifice," said Alexander Nicholson, Executive Director of Servicemembers United. "We have been trying for nearly two weeks to get just one spot for one of our community's representatives at this event. The First Lady's office has used the continued enforcement of 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' as an excuse to exclude us, even though they know that 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' does not apply to the civilians who work at their advocacy and service organizations. Many straight organizational representatives have been invited to this event, including some with few or no military families in their constituencies. Yet our thousands of gay military families are shut out from being represented today because of nothing but lingering political homophobia. Gay and lesbian military families should not have to fight this hard just to stand in the back of the room in 2011."
Servicemembers Legal Defense Network's (SLDN) Executive Director Aubrey Sarvis commented:
"I have no doubt the First Lady shares the President's goal of seeing open military service a reality this year. Mrs. Obama, the President, and the service chiefs all recognize that gay and lesbian service members are serving today, and that they have families who should be recognized. In fact, the Comprehensive Review Working Group created an opportunity for their voices to be heard in a confidential manner. "Unfortunately, because 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' is still the law, our LGB service members and their families will probably not be an official part of this week's public activities. However, the First Lady's welcomed visits to our military bases underscore why we need certification and repeal sooner rather than later, hopefully before the end of this quarter. Servicemembers Legal Defense Network looks forward to Mrs. Obama having the opportunity to sit down with LGB service members and their families later this year when Don't Ask is no longer the law. We believe the First Lady also looks forward to that opportunity once repeal is in place. In the interim, I remain confident that Mrs. Obama and the President value the unselfish contributions and sacrifices our LGB military families are making today and will find appropriate ways to acknowledge them this week."
Pam Spaulding :: WH initiative launched to support, honor America's service members, families - no gay fams invited

Tags: , (All Tags)

Bookmark and Share
Print Friendly View Send As Email

*[new] I'm so glad we have a Democrat in the White House...
or some bigoted exclusions from even symbolic administration activites might occur. Does the White House have any sense of how this motivates the people that elected them to now punish them?
Were they awake in Nov 2010?
I talked family members into voting for Obama in 2008.
I'm already talking people out of voting for him -- or volunteering for him -- in 2012.
No more support for Barack W. Bush.

[ Reply ]

*[new] This was mentioned in my local paper
More than gratitude for military families. I wrote this letter to the editor in response.
While I support "Joining Forces," I am deeply saddened by who will not be welcomed: the families of gay and lesbian servicemembers. Because of the Denial of Marriage Act, and continuing discharges under the supposedly repealed "Don't Ask Don't Tell" law, spouses and children of gay and lesbian members of the Armed Forces will continue to be ignored, denied essential support and otherwise relegated to official non-entities. Yet again, the US government demonstrates that "gratitude" is conditional upon a servicemember's orientation.

No comments:

Post a Comment