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.”
Here is Servicemembers United’s press release:
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Servicemembers United, the nation’s largest organization of gay and lesbian troops and veterans, today called on White House Senior Advisor Valerie Jarrett to meet with gay and lesbian veterans to talk about the administration’s inaction on “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” before appearing at a black-tie fundraising gala for the Human Rights Campaign tomorrow in Washington, DC. Jarrett’s appearance at the gala fundraiser was announced today by the Human Rights Campaign, which also called both Jarrett and the president “strong supporters of those of those of us fighting for LGBT rights.”
“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, Executive Director of Servicemembers United and a former U.S. Army human intelligence collector who was also discharged under “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” “Before she appears at a black-tie fundraiser to tout the administration’s ‘strong support,’ Jarrett 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. To ignore the reality of the administration’s choices, a reality manifested in our daily lives, while appearing at a party hosted by an organization that has given cover to this administration would be incredibly insulting.”
Nicholson added that a top-notch group of recent gay and lesbian veterans who are also involved in the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” repeal movement are ready to meet with Jarrett for a respectful dialogue on Friday or Saturday.’