Washington, D.C. — Today Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (SLDN) issued the following statement:
"SLDN welcomes the anticipated announcement of CIA Director Leon Panetta to lead the Department of Defense. This expected nomination underscores the need for Secretary Gates and Admiral Mullen to move forward now on DADT repeal certification. Earlier this month, the Army, the largest of the services, testified before Congress that it would be ready to certify by May 15 when more than 50 percent of the force is scheduled to be trained. We thank Secretary Gates for his remarkable leadership on repeal and hope the Secretary will finish the repeal job on his watch, and that all of the services will be ready in May. SLDN looks forward to working with Director Panetta. He will bring a strong national defense background to the Pentagon, seasoned leadership, and a demonstrated commitment to equality dating back to his time in Congress," said Army Veteran and SLDN Executive Director Aubrey Sarvis.
STILL AT RISK: Despite the President signing the bill authorizing repeal of DADT, it is still unsafe for service members to come out until 60 days after certification by President Obama, Secretary Gates, and Admiral Mullen. Warning to service members:www.SLDN.org/StillAtRisk
SLDN FREE HOTLINE: Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender service members with questions are urged to contact the SLDN hotline to speak with a staff attorney: 202-328-3244 x100.
ABOUT SLDN: Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (SLDN) was established in 1993 when "Don't Ask" originally passed. In addition to working on repeal, SLDN offers free, confidential legal services to those impacted by the discriminatory law. Last year the organization received its 10,000th call for assistance to its legal hotline.
Servicemembers United Statement on the Expected Nomination of Leon Panetta for Secretary of Defense
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Servicemembers United, the nation's largest organization of gay and lesbian troops and veterans, issued the following statement today on the President's expected nomination of CIA Director Leon Panetta to be the next Secretary of Defense:
"Servicemembers United welcomes the expected nomination of Mr. Panetta as the next Secretary of Defense and wishes Secretary Gates all the best as he moves on to the next chapter in his life," said Alexander Nicholson, Executive Director of Servicemembers United. "We continue to stress that it would be best for the armed forces if Secretary Gates would ensure that the task of certifying the repeal of 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' is complete prior to his departure. This job began on Secretary Gates' watch, and it is only right that the job be finished on his watch. Servicemembers United looks forward to working with Mr. Panetta to ensure a smooth transition to a post-'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' military and to jointly supportting the gay military community moving forward."
For more information about Servicemembers United and the gay military community, please visit our new home on the web at www.servicemembers.org .