Thursday, December 9, 2010

Lady Gaga Urges Continued Support For 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' Repeal

Gaga posts video message imploring U.S. senators who have said they would vote for the repeal to 'please keep your word.'
By Gil Kaufman

Lady Gaga
Photo: Gabriel Bouys/AFP/Getty Images

Lady Gaga has not given up on the drive to repeal the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy barring gays and lesbians from serving openly. As the Democrat-led Congress reconvened on Monday for the lame-duck session before Republicans take over leadership of the House of Representatives in January, Gaga issued a video message urging her fans to keep fighting.

"Right now, we're looking at tomorrow [Tuesday] being a very important day for you guys all to really be paying attention," she says in the clip, noting that the Senate will begin a repeal hearing soon.

The two-minute black-and-white video, which appears to be filmed backstage at a Gaga show, finds the singer sporting a short blond bob wig, a black leather jacket, animal-print tights and her signature round sunglasses.

The Pentagon is slated to release its long-awaited report on the repeal of DADT on Tuesday (November 30). Early leaks of the document show that the majority of troops don't care about allowing openly gay and lesbian soldiers to serve. Time magazine reported that Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, will tell the Senate Armed Services Committee on Thursday that they're also ready to lift the 17-year-old ban. A Senate vote on the repeal could come as early as next week, but as Gaga mentioned in her video, if action does not come swiftly during the lame-duck session, the chances of securing a repeal could be lost when Republicans take over control of the House.

"Otherwise it could take years for it to happen," she says. "Social repression is currently running rampant in this country as many of you know. Kids are being led to believe that it's OK to hate and condemn based on our differences and this recent horrific news of gay suicides is really proof of our social repression and ultimately government repression that is killing our youth. We have to end this law because it reinforces discrimination and it's setting a bad example."

Gaga has been at the forefront of the fight to repeal DADT, putting the topic on front pages around the world in September when she arrived on the red carpet at the MTV Video Music Awards accompanied by four gay and lesbian service members who'd been discharged because of the policy. That kicked off a flurry of activity by Lady Gaga over the next few weeks in an attempt to help get the DADT ban overturned before the midterm elections — an effort that ultimately failed due to a Republican filibuster.

"We've known for many years that an overwhelming majority of Americans are ready to repeal," she continues in the clip. "Senators, you have been put on notice by me and by the people of this country. You said you would debate and address this law when the Pentagon returned with a strategy and tomorrow morning you will have it. So will you keep your word? Please keep your word."

She then encouraged her Little Monsters to go to the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network website to join the fight for repeal and for information on contacting Senators.

"As a performer, this issue means so much to me," she concludes. "And I know sometimes that political activism when you're a pop singer can be kind of trivial, but in truth I feel very close to all of you and I feel like I share a very special connection with my fans and I feel like I can speak for you, and you're screaming, 'Please end this law. Equality for all.' "

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