GetEqual and other advocates for “don’t ask, don’t tell” repeal held a vigil Monday morning at the grave site of Sgt. Leonard Matlovich in Washington, D.C., to kick off a week of action to coincide with the start of the lame duck session of Congress.
According to a news release from GetEqual, members of the group including Robin McGehee and veterans including Lt. Dan Choi were scheduled to join others in a grave site vigil at 8 a.m. at the Congressional Cemetery in Southeast D.C. The vigil heralds a week of action designed to pressure President Barack Obama, Senate majority leader Harry Reid, and the Senate to repeal the military ban by the end of this year as promised.
“The vigil is set to center around the gravesite of gay Vietnam Veteran Leonard Matlovich,” said the news release. “Matlovich, a recipient of both the Purple Heart and Bronze Star, made headlines in the 1970s after he came out as openly gay and fought to stay in the U.S. Air Force – landing him on the cover of Time magazine. Matlovich’s tombstone at the Congressional National Cemetery is meant to be a memorial to all gay veterans and is inscribed with the well-known phrase: ‘When I was in the military, they gave me a medal for killing two men and a discharge for loving one.’”
GetEqual and other repeal advocates plan to engage in a series of actions this week. The lame duck session of Congress is expected to run about two weeks.