BY Kerry Eleveld
February 10 2010 3:15 PM ET
But Nicholson said the group decided to step forward now that a key opening
has been created, but many in Washington seem content to let the
Pentagon complete its plan before pushing for legislative repeal.
“I think people are yearning for something solid out there to rally around and some leadership to fill a void,” he said.
said his organization had briefed other LGBT groups on the plan and will be reaching out to key senators who have expressed an interest in potentially advancing repeal
this year — including Joseph Lieberman of Connecticut, Carl Levin
of Michigan, Mark Udall of Colorado, Kirsten Gillibrand of New York,
and Ron Wyden of Oregon.
The organization also plans to reach
out GOP senator Susan Collins of Maine, who sits on the Senate Armed
Services Committee and is seen by many advocates as a potential ally on
the path to repeal.
“We will be having some serious
conversations with Senator Collins’s office to gauge if this is
something she would be interested in since it hasn't been out there all
that much as an option until now,” he said.
Servicemembers United spent much of last year discussing the plan with
certain senators and talking to the White House about it. But at the
time, he said, the White House was in the process of negotiating with
the Pentagon and key senators were waiting for feedback from the White
House. Nicholson said has talked to the White House about such a
strategy more recently, but the Obama administration has not signaled its position one
way or the other.