This year’s Log Cabin Republican national dinner at the Hyatt Regency in Washington D.C. will be a very special event as it falls on the day “Don’t Ask, Don’ Tell” repeal will go into effect.
Log Cabin will use the opportunity to celebrate this victory and honor two of the GOP Senators that crossed the aisle to help make repeal a reality.
Sens. Scott Brown of Massachusetts and Susan Collins of Maine were two of the eight Republican Senators that joined the Democratic majority in the Senate repealing the 17 year old law in December. They were joined by Richard Burr (N.C.), John Ensign (Nevada), Mark Kirk (Ill.), Lisa Murkowski (Alaska), Olympia J. Snowe (Maine) and George V. Voinovich (Ohio). Sen. Collins sponsored the final compromise bill which separated the repeal itself from the filibustered National Defense Authorization bill to which it had been attached.
Over 17 years nearly 14,000 troops were discharged under the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy, which barred gay and lesbian troops from serving openly in the armed forces. Many of the discharged troops were mission critical, including Arab linguists, which eventually led to wide distaste for the policy among military brass.
In recent years, Log Cabin Republicans successfully brought a high profile Federal case against the government over the policy, which led twice to injunctions against the policy’s enforcement.
Opponents of the policy say it violated several Constitutional rights, hampered military readiness and was enforced inconsistently throughout the service, where strict enforcement in one unit would be countered by non-enforcement in another. The mounting pressure forced Congress to finally act in late 2010.
Log Cabin will bestow its highest honor on Brown and Collins, “The Spirit of Lincoln Award,” at the ceremony.
“The dinner will be attended by several hundred Log Cabin Republican members and allies from across the country, celebrating the end of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ with Senator Collins who played a critical role in repealing the policy,” noted Christian Berle, deputy executive director of the organization.
Other confirmed speakers include Reps. Nan Heyworth (R-NY), Richard Hanna (R-NY), Ileana Ros-Lehtinen-L (R-FL), and Judy Biggert (R-IL).