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WASHINGTON -- As the LGBT community counts down the days until the 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' (DADT) is officially repealed on Sept. 20, the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (SLDN) launched an online petition this week calling on President Barack Obama to issue an executive order prohibiting discrimination and harassment in the armed forces based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
SLDN first urged the President to issue such an order in a February letter, recommending that the order go into effect on the date of DADT's repeal.
The organization renewed its call for the order last week, when the President, Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Michael Mullen, issued formal certification to the Congress that the military is ready for repeal. The order would give LGBT service members recourse outside their chain of command if they are experiencing discrimination or harassment.
“Signing legislation that allows for repeal of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ was an historic milestone, and we appreciate the President’s leadership and commitment in making that happen. But repeal alone is not sufficient for ensuring equality in the military. We invite advocates for equality to join us in calling on the President to issue this order. Every service member deserves equal respect in the work environment, and it’s critical that gay and lesbian service members have the same avenues for recourse as their straight counterparts when it comes to discrimination and harassment,” SLDN Executive Director Aubrey Sarvis said.
The petition is being conducted through Change.org and is available HERE.