Portland, Maine Pop star Lady Gaga visited the state Monday on the eve of a key Senate vote to urge its two U.S. senators to help repeal the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy on gays.
More than 2,000 people attended a rally at Deering Oaks Park, where the Grammy Award-winning singer stood alongside Air Force, Army and Marine veterans who were discharged because of the policy, which prohibits service members from revealing whether they’re gay and recruiters from asking about people’s sexual orientations.
Lady Gaga railed against what she called the injustice of having goodhearted gay soldiers booted from military service while straight soldiers who harbor hatred toward gays are allowed to fight for their country. She suggested a new policy should target straight soldiers who are “uncomfortable” with gay soldiers in their midst.
“Our new law is called ‘If you don’t like it, go home!”’ she said.
The rally was organized by Washington-based Servicemembers Legal Defense Network. The organization is trying to pressure Republican Sens. Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins of Maine to vote to allow a repeal of the “don’t ask” policy, put in place in 1993 by President Bill Clinton.
The House has approved a defense authorization bill that includes a repeal of the “don’t ask” policy. In the Senate, Democrats need 60 votes today to cut off debate and proceed to the bill, again putting Snowe and Collins in the role of casting what could be deciding votes.