Jarrett at gay rights gala draws rebuke from ‘Don’t ask, don’t tell’ opponents

The nation’s largest organization of gay troops and veterans released a statement on Friday protesting White House senior adviser Valerie Jarrett’s planned appearance at an annual gala for the Human Rights Campaign, a major LGBT group.

Their rebuke highlights the rift that exists between the Obama administration and many members of the LGBT community who feel that the White House has not thrown sufficient weight behind the movement to repeal “Don’t ask, don’t tell.” 

The repeal effort faced a major setback on Sept. 20 when Senate Democrats failed to garner the 60 votes necessary to advance a defense authorization bill that would have conditionally nullified the policy. 

“We certainly do not feel like the White House is a ‘strong supporter’
of gay and lesbian troops and veterans right now,” said Alexander Nicholson, the executive director of Servicemembers United, on Friday. “Before Jarrett appears at a black-tie fundraiser to tout the
administration’s ‘strong support,’ she should meet and talk with
those who have actually been impacted by this discriminatory law and who
continue to fight this uphill battle for the lives and livelihoods of
gay and lesbian troops.”

Nicholson’s statement also criticized the Human Rights Campaign for calling Jarrett and President Obama “strong supporters of those of those of us fighting for LGBT rights.”

Polling since 2007 have shown that a majority of the public supports repealing “Don’t ask, don’t tell.”

The HRC’s annual gala event, which will take place on Saturday, featured Obama as its keynote speaker last year.


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