Two senators responded Friday to Lady Gaga's campaign to repeal "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," which included the release of a YouTube video featuring the pop star Friday morning.
Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) told a radio station he hopes Lady Gaga realizes the repeal effort is "a pure political ploy" on the part of Democrats, and Sen. Kirsten Gillebrand (D-N.Y.) tweeted she opposes the 17-year-old law that bans gays from serving openly in the military and is "helping lead the fight to repeal DADT."
Earlier Friday, Lady Gaga posted a seven-minute video aimed at McCain, Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), James Inhofe (R-Okla.), and Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) -- as well as "youth all over the world who are watching."
In a stark black-and-white video, Lady Gaga, wearing a black pants suit, white shirt and a black tie, sits in front of an American flag and asks the senators to repeal DADT.
She accuses the Obama administration of failing to protect 400 service members who have been discharged under the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy.
Lady Gaga, who has become a serious and powerful advocate for LGBT rights, says DADT forces those in the military to "hide and keep private" their sexuality in order to serve. She says the law is being used to profile gays in the military, and that superiors are going through their private e-mails and belongings.
"Gay soldiers have become targets," she says. "In short, not only is the law unconstitutional, but it's not even being properly or fairly enforced by the government."
On Thursday, Gaga tweeted to her 6.3 million Twitter followers: "SENATOR JOHN MCCAIN is attempting to stop the DON'T ASK DON'T TELL repeal vote this Tuesday, with a filibuster."
She offered her version of a virtual Civics 101 lesson, with a bit of spin: "A Filibuster is a way to obstruct the Senate Floor from discussing or voting on a given LAW, + is essentially a tactic to hijack our debate." (In fact, filibusters do not stop discussion, only the vote itself.)
Friday, McCain responded to Lady Gaga in an interview with KFYI in Phoenix. "I hope she'll continue to pay attention, and to watch the debates on the Senate floor, and understand that this is a pure political ploy on the part of [Senate Majority Leader] Harry Reid and Democrats who see their majority slipping away."
McCain added, "They're politicizing national security. People like Lady Gaga need to understand that the military is a unique institution," he said.
Click play to watch the video.
"I am here to be a voice for my generation," she says. "Not the generation of the senators who are voting, but for the youth of this country, the generation that is affected by this law and whose children will be affected. We're not asking you to agree with, or approve the moral implications of homosexuality. We're asking you to do your job, protect the Constitution."
She continues in the video to tell stories about military men and women who have been discharged because of their sexual orientation.
At its end, she tells viewers how to call their senators through the Senate switchboard. Lady Gaga attempts to call her senator – Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) – on her Blackberry. The phone rings and she gets a busy signal. Lady Gaga smirks. She tries to call the other New York senator, Kirsten Gillebrand, whose voice mail is full.
She urges viewers to call Friday and explains what to say -- vote with Sens Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and Carl Levin (D-Mich.) to repeal "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" and oppose McCain's "shameless filibuster."
Later in the day, Gillibrand wrote to Gaga on Twitter: "Thx for calling. I couldn't agree more and am helping lead the fight to repeal DADT. Do you have a moment to talk later today?"
The Wall Street Journal reported late Thursday that McCain may move to block the upcoming DADT repeal effort. It said that activists from Arizona-based Human & Equal Rights Organizers stood up during a Senate hearing on the security of the Korean peninsula and held signs with images from the civil rights era. One protestor's sign read, "Senator McCain, repeal 'don't ask, don't tell,' do you want to be the next George Wallace?"
McCain, a former Navy pilot, was a prisoner of war for more than five years in North Vietnam during the Vietnam War.
Lady Gaga's activism on GLBT issues took center stage this week after she appeared on Sunday night's MTV Video Music Awards program escorted by four gays from the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network. Media also noticed her back-and-forth tweets with Reid on the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" repealer, which is part of the Defense Authorization bill.
Her fans went into overdrive just minutes after Gaga tweeted her call to action. They retweeted her missive to thousands. One fan tweeted, ". . . #DADT needs to be stopped. Prejudice is a disease."
Another tweeted about what McCain may expect in the days leading to the vote: "McCains VM box=full, so lets send a million tweets/emails telling him 2 allow the Vote on DADT."
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