Office of the Moderator
Metropolitan Community Churches
For Immediate Release: 09 December 2010
We’ve Only Just Begun to Fight!
U.S. Congress Fails to End “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell“
Just moments ago, the United States Senate failed to pass a key procedural Defense Authorization bill that contained an amendment to repeal the ban on lesbian and gay soldiers serving openly in the military. The vote not only ended our hope of lifting the ban during this session of Congress, but made even a discussion impossible.
I join my voice to that of human rights activists around the globe decrying not only the failure of the United States Senate to end the 17-year ban, but the lack of courage and conviction in disallowing even a conversation on the merits of the measure.
The ban, known as “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” has long been used as a weapon of mass division, often diverting attention from the principles of equality and justice for all in favor of fanciful projections about who would and would not be able to shower in safety; who would and would not be able to keep their focus on the battlefront. Today U.S. legislators lost their focus: representing all of us equally and fairly.
It is nothing short of shameful that those elected to represent a public who overwhelmingly called for the end of the ban, chose political machinations over honoring their call to serve our common interests. It is nothing short of shameful that the real progress toward acceptance and inclusion witnessed in the military personnel survey compiled as part of the research mandated in consideration of an appeal vote, was completely ignored. Our national leaders chose fear and projection over the strong inclination of the American people for acceptance of diversity.
While I am pledging myself to continue to carry on this good fight, I am also mindful of the debt of gratitude all of us owe to the many, many people who lifted their voices and sometimes jeopardized their careers in pursuit of equality.
I am mindful of the debt of gratitude we owe to people like Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen and General Colin Powell. The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King said, “In the end we will remember not the words of our enemies but the silence of our friends.” On this eve of momentary defeat, we are blessed to remember that many of our friends broke their silence in the cause of justice and equality for all.
I am mindful of the debt of gratitude we owe to all the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender military personnel whose presence on front lines across the globe and whose dedication to the principles of freedom and justice for all remain unwavering.
And I am mindful of all those who have given their lives in silent witness for the principles they cherished. Today we owe a debt of gratitude to them and to those whose refusal to keep silent has or will lead to their discharge.
“When I was in the military they gave me a medal for killing two men and a discharge for loving one,” reads the inscription on the tombstone of gay activist and solider, Leonard Matlovich.
On this day of momentary defeat, I ask you to join me in praying that the courage of those like Matlovich, along with the boldness and tenacity of people like Colonel Margareth Cammer-meyer, Lieutenant Dan Choi, The Rev. Elder Jeri Ann Harvey, The Rev. Dr. Lea Brown and The Rev. Dr. Robert Griffin, to name a few, may continue to inspire all of us in our quest to make truth our weapon of choice in the battle for freedom.
This Advent season I call on the Members and Friends of Metropolitan Community Churches and people of good will around the world to join me in pledging to carry on the fight for human equality on all fronts, including the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” and to not rest until we see this battle through to victory.
The best way to honor those who have fought this good fight is to take on their mantle. I promise to continue to do that, and I ask you to join me. — Now is not the time to retreat. Now is the time to email and call all of our representatives in Congress and let them know how upset we are that they placed political maneuvering above the principles of justice and quality for all.
We can all honor those who have fought so hard for the end to discrimination and injustice, by pushing forward.
As fervently as I pray for the day of peace, when all war and strife shall cease, I also pray for the end to discrimination and policies that exclude some and separate us from others, because I know that only when we honor and treat all life as equal will the Day of Peace come.
History, I believe, will hold a special place for those LGBT American who promised to “protect and defend the Constitution of the United States” long before that Constitution protected or defended them. It will hold a special place for those who lived as if they were free and equal long before the governments of this world acknowledged their humanity. May they hold a special place in all our hearts as well, as we promise to fight like heaven for the day of good will among and for all God’s people.
Grace and Peace,
The Rev. Elder Nancy Wilson, Moderator
Metropolitan Community Churches