In addition to setting the fashion world on fire with her meat dress and plowing down some records on her way to eight VMA wins on Sunday night, Lady Gaga also also got some serious legislative business done.
The singer, who marched down the white carpet with four representatives of the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network — an organization working for the repeal of the military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy — made a point at the show and on her official website of urging her Little Monsters to tell Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid that they wanted the Senate to vote for a repeal of the measure soon.
Well, on Tuesday, Reid answered Gaga’s call, tweeting, “There is a vote on #DADT next week. Anyone qualified to serve this country should be allowed to do so http://bit.ly/9ucdIj #nvsen.”
An ecstatic Gaga responded a short time later. “God Bless and Thank you @HarryReid, from all of us, like u, who believe in equality and the dream of this country. We were #BORNTHISWAY,” she wrote, cleverly adding a link to the trending topic based on the title of her upcoming album.
On the Nevada senator’s website, a Reid staffer further explained the decision to bring the “Don’t Ask” vote next week. “Senator Reid has reiterated his commitment to repealing the military’s ban on gays serving in our armed forces” Megan Jones wrote. “This afternoon, he informed Republicans that he intends to bring the Defense Authorization Bil — including the repeal of the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy — to the Senate Floor next week. This would overturn the decade-old policy that bars openly gay, lesbian or bisexual Americans from serving in our armed forces, and is an important step towards equal treatment of all Americans. Senator Reid believes that Americans should not be denied the opportunity to serve their country just because of their sexual orientation.”
The victory was also celebrated by SLDN, which continued to urge Gaga fans on Tuesday to call the Capitol switchboard to voice their opinion on the vote. David Hall, one of the SLDN staffers who accompanied Gaga on the white carpet, told MTV News that it is critical that the Senate vote on the measure before senators leave for the election recess because if Democrats lose control of the House, Senate, or both in the upcoming midterm elections, the “Don’t Ask” repeal could be postponed, or killed by the new Republican leadership.
Hall applauded Gaga’s decision to use the VMA platform to publicize the attempt to push for the repeal of “Don’t Ask,” a commitment President Obama made during his campaign and which he has said repeatedly is his goal.
Though President Bill Clinton had campaigned on the promise to allow anyone to serve in the military regardless of sexual orientation, the DADT policy was implemented in 1993 as a comprise gesture with Congress. It bars military officials from asking service members to reveal their sexual orientation, but also mandates that they could be discharged for offering the information themselves. It has long been criticized by the LGBT community over claims that it has led to harassment of service members, investigations based on rumors and a double standard in the military’s code of honesty and integrity. To date, more than 14,000 service members have been fired under the rule.