Thursday, July 28, 2011

SLDN Releases Definitive Guide to LGBT Military Service

On September 20, 2011, the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” military policy will finally end once-and-for-all.

However, even with this discriminatory law no longer on the books, many issues and questions still remain for LGBT service members.

Fortunately, our friends at Servicemembers Legal Defense Network have released a first-of-its-kind guide, Freedom to Serve: The Definitive Guide to LGBT military service.

Please share SLDN’s resource widely with your networks to help protect LGBT service members and their families today!

Friday, July 22, 2011

President Obama Certifies The Repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell"

Senior military leaders met with President Obama today, stating that repealing "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" would pose no threat to the armed services.  President Obama then certified the repeal, which will allow lesbian, gay and bisexual servicemembers to serve openly in the military.  There is now a 60-day waiting period, and then the law will be repealed.

PFLAG National Executive Director Jody M. Huckaby said, "This is the end of government-supported discrimination against gay and lesbian service members who honorably serve their country and the beginning of a new chapter in our military history, one focused on the inclusion of everyone who nobly defends our nation and our responsibility to them when they come home. PFLAG National hopes that the Joining Forces program spearheaded by First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden will be inclusive of all military families and reflect programs and outreach that are responsive to our gay and lesbian service members, their spouses and families, and the unique issues that they often face.” s

PFLAG National board member Col. Daniel Tepfer, USAF (ret.) made a strong statement regarding the spouses and partners of gay and lesbian servicemembers, saying, “It has been 212 days since the president signed the repeal of ‘Don't Ask, Don't Tell’, and there are still 60 days to wait before implementation begins. Beyond that, more waiting lies ahead, as legal partners and spouses of serving gays and lesbians will not receive any benefits or even recognition from the Department of Defense.  Without that all-important U.S. military spouse identification card, these spouses and partners will have no medical coverage, no on-base housing and, perhaps most important, no survivor benefits or next-of-kin notification in case of death.  Repeal of ‘Don't Ask, Don't Tell’ is a significant victory, but an incomplete victory.  DOMA must be repealed to ensure that serving gay or lesbian is truly equal to serving straight.”

Thursday, July 21, 2011

PFLAG National Board Member Featured in Current Issue of AGING TODAY Magazine

National Board Member - and long-time PFLAGer - Dan Tepfer is featured as a tremendous straight ally in the current edition of Aging Today. You can read the article by clicking here.

Dan, thank you for your inspiration and for always being willing to share your story!

Welcome PFLAG National's new Deputy Executive Director, Beth Kohm!

A note to PFLAGers today from PFLAG National Executive Director, Jody Huckaby:

I am very pleased to announce the appointment of Beth Kohm to the staff of PFLAG National as our Deputy Executive Director.

Beth joined PFLAG earlier this month, bringing more than twenty years of experience across the political, corporate and nonprofit sectors. Beyond her personal passion for the PFLAG mission, Beth’s years working for an addiction treatment organization gives her a keen understanding of the devastating impact that the lack of sexuality acceptance can have for individuals and their families. For more than a decade, Beth has also worked both professionally and personally in grassroots approaches to improving schools for all students.  

Beth holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from the Nelson Rockefeller School of Public Affairs and Policy from the University of Albany, New York.  A resident of Virginia, she is married with two sons and is especially grateful to PFLAG for the role it played in helping her half-sister become part of her life.

Beth will oversee our Field and Policy team, our Communications team and our Development team—all core functions of PFLAG’s work to support our vast and diverse chapter network.  I am certain that as you get to know Beth, you will appreciate her wealth of experience and her passion as an ally and a parent who shares our vision for creating a better, fully equal society with healthier families and stronger communities.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Senate Hosts Historic Hearing Assessing DOMA’s Impact on American Families

Today the Senate Judiciary Committee hosts the first ever DOMA (Defense of Marriage Act) Repeal Hearing, which is scheduled to begin at 10 am (est) in the Hart Senate Office Building, Room 216 (2nd & C Street, NE, Washington, DC 20510)

Members from the Senate Judiciary Committee plan to assess the impact of DOMA on American families. They will also address proposed legislation S. 598, the Respect for Marriage Act, a bill introduced by Senator Diane Feinstein that currently has 27 co-sponsors. The bill would effectively repeal DOMA by allowing the U.S. federal government to provide benefits to married same-sex couples living in the 6 states (and the District of Columbia) that recognize marriage equality.

We expect a packed hearing room full of PFLAG members, LGBT individuals their families and allies all showcasing their support to dump DOMA and pass the Respect for Marriage Act (S. 598). 

Even if you can’t join the hearing in person, there are several things you can do to support this historic event:

Please take action today and help move equality forward for all of our families!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

UPDATE: Location Change for Tomorrow’s 10 am DOMA Repeal Hearing

Since so many of you have already RSVPed for the first ever DOMA (Defense of Marriage Act) Repeal Hearing, please note the location for tomorrow’s event is now scheduled for July 20 @ 10 am in the Hart Senate Office Building, Room 216 (2nd & C Street, NE, Washington, DC 20002). We view this location change as a very positive sign that many supporters of DOMA repeal, including PFLAG members, LGBT individuals, their families and their allies are planning to attend this historic hearing!

As many of you know, members from the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee plan to assess the impact of DOMA on American families at tomorrow’s hearing. They will also address proposed legislation S. 598, the Respect for Marriage Act, a bill introduced by Senator Diane Feinstein that currently has 27 co-sponsors. The legislation would effectively repeal DOMA by allowing the U.S. federal government to provide benefits to married same-sex couples living in the 6 states (and the District of Columbia) that recognize marriage equality.

Again, we ask you to please ensure a successful hearing by taking the following action:

· Make History. If you live in or around Washington, DC, please make history by attending this historic Senate Hearing. We will have free PFLAG materials available for you to showcase your support for equality. Please contact Rhodes Perry at PFLAG National, rperry@pflag.org, if you plan to attend. He will provide specific instructions for attendance.

· Spread the Word. Please send this notice to your family, friends and colleagues and invite everyone you know in Washington, DC to attend the tomorrow’s hearing at 10 am, July 20. The meeting is open to the public, and everyone is highly encouraged to attend.

· Share your Story. We are seeking same-sex couples who are validly married in any state (or DC) in the U.S. and who have experienced some harm due to the federal government’s failure to recognize their marriage. This harm could be anything from increased tax burdens to denial of Social Security benefits. If you know of any families who fit this description, please contact Rhodes Perry, rperry@pflag.org.

Please take action today and help move equality forward for all of our families.