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Senate Majority Leader and White House reaffirm commitment to DADT repeal in defense bill this year

WASHINGTON – Key Senate leadership and Obama administration officials met Wednesday night with representatives of the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (SLDN), and the Center for American Progress Action Fund (CAPAF).

The officials told the groups that Majority Leader Harry Reid and President Barack Obama are committed to moving forward on repealing DADT by bringing the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) – the bill to which “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” repeal is attached – to the floor in the lame-duck session after the Thanksgiving recess.

Further, the Senate Majority Leader and the president made clear their opposition to removing the DADT provision from the NDAA.

Information on the exact timing and procedural conditions will be announced by the Majority Leader’s office.

Present at the meeting were Jim Messina, Deputy White House Chief of Staff; Phil Schiliro, White House Director of Legislative Affairs; Chris Kang, Special Assistant to the President for Legislative Affairs; Brian Bond, Deputy Director of the White House Office of Public Engagement; David Krone, Chief of Staff to Majority Leader Reid; and Serena Hoy, Senior Counsel to Majority Leader Reid.

"We are pleased that Senator Reid has finally announced his intention to give this bill another chance at victory during the lame duck. We are hopeful that he will also allot the bill the two weeks of floor time necessary to overcome Republican obstruction," said Alexander Nicholson, executive director of Servicemembers United and a former U.S. Army Human Intelligence Collector who was discharged under "Don't Ask, Don't Tell."

"It remains concerning, however, that Senator Reid's Office, in collaboration with the White House, saw the need to yet again punitively exclude the nation's largest gay troop and vet organization from this meeting specifically because of our strong public pressure campaign on Senator Reid and the White House to do the right thing. If it takes giving any lawmaker a pass for a lack of leadership to get invited to a meeting, then we will happily continue our work from the outside. But the American public, and especially the LGBT community, have demonstrated clearly that they are disgusted with that sort of politics."

For more information about Servicemembers United and "Don't Ask, Dont' Tell," visit www.ServicemembersUnited.org.

For the most comprehensive collection of polling data, discharge statistics, academic works, legislative and congressional material, and more, visit www.DADTArchive.org.