Defense Secretary Robert Gates: “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” can wait…

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Defense Secretary Robert Gates who appeared on Fox News Sunday was asked about continued funding of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” despite Obama’s plan to repeal the controversial policy.

“Well continues to be the law, and any change in the policy would require a change in the law. We will follow the law whatever it is. That dialogue, though, has really not progressed very far at this point in the administration. I think the president and I feel like we’ve got a lot on our plates right now and let’s push that one down the road a little bit.”

Aubrey Sarvis, Executive Director of Servicemen’s Legal Defense Network (SLDN) responded to Gates’ statement

Sec. Gates hardly gave a sound reason for kicking ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ down the road — or essentially back tracking on a campaign promise made by his Commander in Chief. I trust the secretary was not speaking for President Obama, who, hopefully, will issue the call for repeal when he sends his Defense Department budget to Congress in a few weeks. This is about timely leadership … It’s also called multitasking. Right now is the time — while we’re engaged in two wars — we need the most qualified men and women serving. This is not the time to keep firing linguists and intelligence analysts because of their sexual orientation. The longer the president and Pentagon delay the issue, the fewer linguists and intelligence analysts the Pentagon will have to call on to fight terrorism in Pakistan and Afghanistan.”

On Family Guy: Add Star Trek, “Kirk” Cameron, and atheists, stir vigorously

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Trekkies! Christians! And Atheists, oh my! In last night’s hysterical episode of Family Guy, series creator Seth MacFarlane doesn’t spare the rod in “Not all Dogs go to Heaven,” and we are all much better for it. Particularly us Trekkies — I mean Trekkers — as the entire cast of Star Trek: The Next Generation lend their voices to the show.

And for our international brethren…

Family torn apart as binational same-sex couple faces deportation

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A California family will be torn apart this Friday as Shirley Tan is deported back to the Philippines, leaving behind her partner of 23 years Jay Mercado and her twelve-your-old twin sons.

As reported in the San Jose Mercury News

It’s hard when they are breaking up families,” said a tearful Mercado, as she sat next to Tan in the house the couple owns overlooking the Pacific Ocean. “Why can’t they just leave us alone? Just because I am not a man, that I cannot petition her (for a green card), they are punishing us.”

“The thing is,” Tan said, “it’s not only me who they are punishing. It is mainly my kids, because they are innocent. They are the ones suffering.”

If deported, Tan will be banned from entering the U.S. for 10 years. Mercado is prepared to leave her job and home behind to keep the family together in the Philippines.

Rep. Jackie Speier (D-CA-12), co-sponsor of the Uniting American Families Act (UAFA) and representing the couple’s district said this of the situation (from Immigration Equality)…

“Shirley Tan’s unacceptable situation is just one example of why Congress must pass immigration equality legislation.  The Uniting American Families Act, which I co-sponsored, will allow lesbian and gay Americans to sponsor their permanent partners for residency in the United States … In the near term, I am confident that any official who examines the facts in Shirley Tan’s case will come to the conclusion that this hard-working mother of two should not be sent to a country where she has no support network and was the victim of a horrific act of violence.”

The White House also confirmed their support for UAFA this week through spokesman Shin Inouye who said “The President thinks Americans with partners from other countries should not be faced with a painful choice between staying with their partner or staying in their country. We will work closely with Congress to craft comprehensive immigration reform legislation.”

Of course not everyone is so supportive…

“I’ve Got a simple answer for both of you lesbians, instead of trying to change our laws, just take your two sons with you, nobody will be suffering then. And don’t let that 747 plane door smack on your rear-ends, on your way to Manila!”

The Mark Chamot Report

Hopefully opinions such of as Mark Chamot’s are in the minority. Since Congress is going into recess next week, we should make every effort to meet with our representatives and let them know we can no longer allow families like this to be split apart by supporting the Uniting American Families Act. The Immigration Forum has made a toolkit available detailing how to schedule meetings with your local representative.

Read more on the personal story of Shirley Tan and Jay Mercado.

Switch off your lights for Earth Hour at 8:30pm, wherever you are…

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Here in the U.S. the time is almost upon us! Please show your support for the Earth by switching off your lights (and any other electronics you can live without) from 8:30 to 9:30 this evening, and send a message to our leaders that we need to act now against climate change.

Earth Hour began in 2007 in Sydney Australia where 2.7 million switched off their lights. The following year the movement had gone global and an estimated 50 million people participated in 35 countries and over 370 cities.

Please join us. We can do better. We have to.