The Right to Serve

Support the Right to Serve Campaign

The Right to Serve Campaign took place in the Fall of 2006. It is no longer an active campaign at this time. Thank you for your interest and support. We are honored to have worked with those of you who participated.

The Right to Serve

Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell (DADT) is 13-year-old government-sanctioned discrimination. Signed into law by President Clinton in 1993, it bans openly gay, lesbian, and bisexual people from enlisting in the armed forces or continuing to serve if they are outed based on their sexual orientation. This fall openly gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender young adults who are willing to serve will attempt to enlist in the military in thirty cities across the country. When their desire to serve is rejected, young adults will sit-in at the recruitment centers. Each city will have its own schedule and demands. In all, over 1000 young adults across the country – LGBT and heterosexual, Christian and non-Christian – will sit down in the fight for equality. Young adults will have opportunities to find their voices and their own leadership skills as they challenge government sanctioned discrimination in their hometowns.

Our goals are many. We will raise awareness about the actual effects of DADT. Americans will see the absurdity and discrimination of rejecting qualified individuals based on sexual orientation. We will call on members of Congress who have not co-sponsored the Military Readiness Enhancement Act, a bill which would lift the ban, to speak with us, their constituents, and discharged service members. We are convinced that a sincere and thorough conversation among Congressmembers and the Americans they serve would make obvious the popular support for lifting the bans on LGBT service.

An estimated 65,000 GLB soldiers currently serve in silence. An estimated 41,000 citizens would serve in the armed forces if they did not have to lie in order to do so. Over 10,000 soldiers have been discharged under DADT. Training replacements for those discharged, including more than 80 critical linguists, has cost the American taxpayers at least $364 million. Our nation’s military is the largest employer of young adults.

While Soulforce as an organization is against the war in Iraq, we remain committed to freeing LGBT people from political and religious oppression. Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell is rooted firmly in religion-based bigotry. We will fight this discrimination that makes second-class citizens of the LGBT community by showing the American people that this law is not a good compromise.

Endorsement by Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (SLDN)

"Servicemembers Legal Defense Network salutes the service of all our troops who defend liberty and freedom for all Americans. We applaud the young men and women from Right To Serve who seek to join the proud tradition of military service. The Right To Serve campaign challenges the federal government to end its prohibition on open and honest service by gay Americans, at a time when America can ill afford to turn away even one bright, capable recruit in the fight against terrorism."

-C. Dixon Osburn