Saturday, March 03, 2012

SLDN holds annual dinner for 20th year, first dinner after full repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell"

Well, this year I made it to the SLDN Annual Dinner, in its 20th year, still at the National Building Museum.  In 2011, I was ill that night, unusual for me.

At the reception before the program, D.C. Swing performed jazz music, maybe some of it from "The Artist".  The Weinstein Company (and the Oscars committee) would be pleased.  Sorry, no Uggie and no Ellen!

A highlight of the evening was the presentation of the Barry Winchell Courage Award, for the plaintiffs of McLaughlin vs. U.S.

There was a lot of emphasis on “Full Military Equality”, with mention of the fact that military spouses of same-sex couples have no rights at all; for example, cannot come on to the base to use the Px or commissary (where I did detail in my own Basic training), cannot get medical care from the military.

There was also a fund raising contest by branch of service. All services made 100%, with the Coast Guard, the smallest, finishing last.  The "Allies" (other countries) were treated as a service.  

There was no negativity, no mention of a possible cloud hanging over the repeal should the "wrong" GOP candidate get nominated and actually win in Nov. 2012 (specifically, Rick Santorum).  However, more private comments around the dinner table suggested that almost any president has to move to the center to govern, no matter what his ideology.  But a "socially conservative" president would have the legal authority to reimplment the ban on his own (even with asking) if he "wanted to", even if for religious or ideological (or in Santorum's case, existential) reasons. 

Thomas Roberts was the M.C.  Valerie Jarrtt gave the keynote speech and talked about how the president never gave up on repeal.

Aubrey Sarvis, soon to leave SLDN, was honored, and was credited with pushing the standalone repeal bill that was introduced by Sen. Liebermann on Dec. 10, 2010, four days before my own mother died. I got the cell phone call (leading to her final episode in Hospice) while I was at the rally. She lived long enough to see the Repeal formally introduced. 

There was a short film video, about 5 minutes, "SLDN at 20: History in the Making", and a supplementary video (about 3 minutes) about Aubrey Sarvis.

I did make videos of the highlights of the speeches (as shown here, above).  

I am listed as an individual sponsor on the program (shown on the screen from Power Point). Technically, that comes from the Margaret Boushka Trust, my mother’s name, although it will probably be moved to my name “legally” very soon.  

The food was low-fat and tasty: an entree of smoked chicken, served in the same style as at the Westover Market in Arlington.  This time, I didn't get "the last chicken" (as the waiter once said when he served me -- that bar really does smoke all its meat -- every individual serving -- by hand outside the store.  I wonder if the menu idea came from that popular new jazz hangout in Arlington.) 
At least, it's better than the "Cornish game hen" served around 2004.  Yes, they really served that over at the Omni Sheraton. 

Cross your fingers that the country remains sane during this years elections.  Bill Maher told Piers Morgan tonight that he gave a lot of money today to Obama's campaign, because he's afraid of the zealots who have taken over the GOP.  

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