Comedian and gay rights advocate Kathy Griffin is to lead a rally tomorrow in Washington DC to protest about the US military’s ban on out gay soldiers.
She will be present at Freedom Plaza along with the Human Rights Campaign and veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars at noon tomorrow.
The 1993 law is currently under review. President Barack Obama supports repeal, although some military and civilian leaders say removing the law may harm cohesion and morale.
Griffin wrote on her website: “Calling all DC gays and all good citizens who support equality! After travelling to Iraq and Afghanistan to perform for the troops and visiting with injured vets and their families at Walter Reed, I’ve gotten to meet and know many gay members of our brave military.
“Their stories are heartbreaking, touching, and need to be heard. They cannot stand up for themselves, so it’s time we stand up for them and be their voice. They put their lives on the line for us every day, all the while risking getting fired, discharged, losing all their benefits and maybe even worse, just for being ‘found out’.
“It’s time to take on Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. . . All you have to do is show up!”
Last month, President Obama promised he would work to repeal the 1993 law this year. This is unlikely to happen in 2010, as the review is scheduled to last 12 months.
The 1993 law was a compromise on an outright ban on gay troops. It means gays and lesbians can serve as long as they do not engage in homosexual behaviour or reveal their sexual orientation to their superiors.
The law is often known as Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, as senior officers are barred from asking servicemembers about their sexuality. However, they can be outed by another person.
Since the law came into force, an estimated 13,000 servicemembers have been dismissed.