'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' Expert Available in DC Through Senate Vote

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Washington, DC — Next week, the Senate will vote on the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). The NDAA contains language previously passed by the House, which would allow the Pentagon to repeal “don’t ask, don’t tell” next year, thus granting gay and lesbian service members the right to serve openly. Christopher Neff, Deputy Executive Director of the Palm Center, will be in Washington, DC on September 14 and available for media briefings and interviews regarding the upcoming vote. Mr. Neff is a longtime gay rights activist and one of the country’s leading experts on “don’t ask, don’t tell.”

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don’t ask, don’t tell

Next week, the Senate will vote on the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). The NDAA contains language previously passed by the House, which would allow the Pentagon to repeal “don’t ask, don’t tell” next year, thus granting gay and lesbian service members the right to serve openly.

Christopher Neff, Deputy Executive Director of the Palm Center, will be in Washington, DC on September 14 and available for media briefings and interviews regarding the upcoming vote. Mr. Neff is a longtime gay rights activist and one of the country’s leading experts on “don’t ask, don’t tell.”

Christopher Neff joined the Palm Center in 2005 as the Political Director and is now the Deputy Executive Director. In 2002, Christopher became the first full-time lobbyist working for the repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" with Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, where he helped draft and introduce the Military Readiness Enhancement Act (MREA), a bill that would have repealed DADT. He also served on the Board of the Equality Federation of statewide LGBT political organizations for six years, served as the President of the Gay and Lesbian Activists Alliance of Washington, D.C. in 2006 and started the first LGBTQ lobbyist group in Washington, the Q Street Project, in 2005. Christopher has also worked as a congressional staffer for Senator Harry Reid of Nevada and Senator John Warner of Virginia. He recently completed a Masters.Degree with Honors in Public Policy from the University of Sydney, Australia, where he is currently pursuing a Ph.D.

Mr. Neff can speak to the following:

  •     Significance of the NDAA Senate vote
  •     Potential obstruction strategies that may be used by Republican Senators in opposition to the bill
  •     Key components of a successful repeal, which the Palm Center recommends be included in the Pentagon Working Group’s recommendations, including:

o    A robust policy of non-discrimination based on sexual orientation
o    A single standard set for all service members in all branches of the military
o    Strong leadership in enacting the new policy on all levels
o    A rapid timeline for ending “don’t ask, don’t tell,” which has proven to be successful in other militaries
o    The Palm Center’s latest policy memo, “Roadmap 2.0:Key Standards for Measuring ‘Equal and Open’ Service by Gay Troops in the Pentagon Working Group’s Implementation Plan”

  •     Ramifications of the Log Cabin Republicans v. United States ruling, declaring “don’t ask, don’t tell” unconstitutional

EDITORS: To schedule an interview with Christopher Neff, please call or email Cathy Renna at 917-757-6123 or cathy (at) rennacommunications (dot) com.

About the Palm Center
The Palm Center is a research institute of the University of California, Santa Barbara, committed to sponsoring state-of-the-art scholarship to enhance the quality of public dialogue about critical and controversial issues of the day. For the past decade, the Palm Center's research on sexual minorities in the military has been published in leading social scientific journals. The Palm Center seeks to be a resource for university-affiliated as well as independent scholars, students, journalists, opinion leaders, and members of the public.

For more information, please visit http://www.palmcenter.org.

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