Federal Eye: Eye Opener: Gay groups mobilize for ‘don’t ask’ repeal

Happy Thursday! Gay rights groups on Wednesday plan to launch a nationwide campaign to repeal the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy following President Obama’s call for a repeal during Wednesday’s State of the Union address.

“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,” Obama said.

In response, the Human Rights Campaign will launch its “Voices of Honor” campaign on Wednesday, with plans to mobilize veterans and build campaigns in states with lawmakers that will be critical to final votes on a repeal in the House and Senate.

“The Commander in Chief sent a clear message tonight that in a time of war, what matters is that our men and women get the job done — not whether they’re gay or straight,” HRC President Joe Solmonese said Wednesday night.

“Our country simply cannot afford this discriminatory law that hurts military readiness by denying patriotic men and women the opportunity to serve,” Solmonese said.

A report released Tuesday estimated that 66,000 gay, lesbian and bisexual people are serving in the U.S. military, roughly 2 percent of all military personnel.

The president’s statement was just one line in a 71-minute speech. It didn’t set a timeline and Obama didn’t commit to suspending the dismissal of gay men and lesbians. Last night’s pledge echoes similar statements at least three times last year and during his presidential campaign.

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