Gay Rights Group Targets Moderates on DADT

Posted November 12, 2010 at 11:54am

The Human Rights Campaign has kicked off a fresh ad campaign targeting moderate Senators to try to build support for a repeal of the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy in the lame-duck session.

The gay rights organization will begin running ads Monday in the Cleveland Plain Dealer, the Boston Herald, the Virginian-Pilot, and the Indianapolis Star on Monday, according to a press release. Under the headline “Holding Our Military Hostage,” the ad notes that the defense bill — which contains the DADT repeal language — authorizes pay raises for troops, spending on military equipment, missile defense programs and construction projects including family housing units. DADT bans openly gay service members.

“Senators in Washington are stalling a vote on the yearly National Defense Authorization Act, which would fund thousands of defense programs critical to our national security while our nation is at war,” the ad states. “These senators oppose a small portion of the bill that would repeal the discriminatory ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ law, even though 80 percent of Americans support repeal. A few senators are determined to block its repeal — and they are willing to sacrifice military pay raises and the security of our combat troops in order to do so.”

Members being targeted by the ad campaign are Sens. George Voinovich (R-Ohio), Scott Brown (R-Mass.), Jim Webb (D-Va.) and Dick Lugar (R-Ind.). Webb is the only one being targeted who voted to bring the defense bill to the floor in September. Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) is expected to bring up the measure again during the lame-duck session.

Senate Republicans, led by Armed Services ranking member John McCain (Ariz.), widely oppose a repeal, and he and Armed Services Chairman Carl Levin (D-Mich.) are currently discussing how to remove the DADT language from the defense measure.