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Vermont Law School Delegation to Lobby Against "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" Law

March 8, 2010

SOUTH ROYALTON, VT -- A group of Vermont Law School students will travel March 19 to Washington, D.C., for "Lobby Day" to push for the repeal of the military's "don't ask, don't tell" law.

Vermont Law School is one of two law schools in the nation that bar military recruiters from campus because of the "don't ask, don't tell" policy, which allows gay men and lesbians to serve as long as they keep their sexual orientation secret.

The annual Lobby Day is hosted by the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (SLDN), a non-profit legal services group that opposes the "don't ask, don't tell" law.

This spring's event coincides with a call by the Obama administration and the nation's top defense officials for an end to the "don't ask, don't tell" law. The House of Representatives has had a bill pending since 2006 to repeal the law, and the Senate introduced a bill earlier this month. The Pentagon plans to conduct a year-long review before Congress is expected to vote on the matter. More than 13,000 members of the military have been discharged since the law was enacted in 1993.

Two dozen VLS students, faculty and staff will join thousands of other activists in the nation's capital for Lobby Day to oppose both the "don't ask, don't tell" policy and the Solomon Amendment, the federal law that withholds some federal research money from law schools and universities that do not give military recruiters the same access to campus as other employers.

Lobby Day participants will try to meet briefly with all 535 voting members of Congress, their chiefs of staff or legislative and military liaisons or they will drop off information packets at their offices if they aren't available.

"The only way to fix the problem is to repeal ‘don't ask, don't tell' and the Solomon Amendment," said Associate Professor Jackie Gardina, an SLDN board member who will lead the VLS delegation. "Vermont Law School isn't anti-military, but we are anti-discrimination, and Lobby Day is an opportunity to educate members of Congress and their staffs about the very real problems created by the ban."

The VLS delegation raises funds from faculty and staff to pay for the Lobby Day trip.
"It's exciting for our students to be walking the halls of Congress and taking an active role in repealing this law," Gardina said. "It reminds you that our elected officials are supposed to be representing the people."

CONTACT: John Cramer, Associate Director of Media Relations

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