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It's only been three days since Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid narrowly held on to his seat, and he's already starting to falter in his commitment to repeal "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" this year. While the advocacy community knows that he must bring up the National Defense Authorization Act (containing repeal of DADT) before the Thanksgiving recess this month, it appears that Senator Reid is backpedaling from that commitment.
It's Senator Reid's job to make this work. It's his job to line up the votes to get repeal of DADT through the Senate this year. And it's his job to make good on the promises that he and other Democratic leaders have made to the LGBT community that they would repeal -- by the end of 2010 -- the policy that ended my career.
Now that he's won his job back, we want him to keep his promise. Immediately.
There are events and actions happening all over the country next week, and we need you to take this fight into your own hands by showing up. I'm emailing you now because there's already something planned for your community -- and I'd love for you to participate!
Thanks for all you're doing for LGBT equality. I appreciate it more than you know -- as do the 14,000+ other servicemembers who have been discharged under this policy.
Marine Corps Sgt. Justin Elzie came out publicly on ABC Evening World News in January 1993. He became the first Marine discharged under "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," and was later reinstated, becoming the first Marine to challenge the policy with a Federal Court Case. Justin went on to serve four years openly gay. He was described by his superiors as an exemplary Marine with two meritorious promotions, being named Marine of the Year and serving as an American Embassy Guard. After coming out he was recommended for promotion and served as a Platoon Sergeant in charge of Marines on a ship and in the field. He testified at the Senate Hearings opposite General Schwarzkopf, and his story appeared on ABC, CNN, NPR and in The New York Times. Justin Elzie is the author of the soon to be published book "Playing by the Rules."