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Texas Governor Suggests Gay & Lesbian War Veterans Should Leave
State; Groups Call on Gov. Rick Perry to Apologize

FT WORTH, Texas, June 8 -- Texas Republican Governor Rick
Perry on Sunday insinuated the state's lesbian, gay and bisexual
war veterans should leave the state if they are unhappy with a
recent anti-gay marriage amendment introduced there, according to
the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (SLDN).

During a news conference held in a Fort Worth church, Perry was
asked what he would tell Texas gay and lesbian war veterans
returning home from war about the law. Gov. Perry responded,
according to the Fort Worth Star Telegram, by saying that "Texans
made a decision about marriage and if there's a state that has more
lenient views than Texas, then maybe that's a better place for them
to live."

Servicemembers Legal Defense Network today joined calls by the
Lesbian and Gay Rights Lobby of Texas for Gov. Perry to apologize.
"More than 66,000 lesbian and gay veterans make their home in
Texas," said Sharra E. Greer, SLDN's director of law and policy.
"Their service has defended the freedom of every Texan, including
Governor Perry. The Governor's remarks dishonor their service and
he should immediately apologize. We should be thanking these brave
men and women, not asking them to leave."

Colonel Paul W. Dodd, a retired Army Chaplain and SLDN honorary
board member who now lives in Texas, also called on Gov. Perry to
apologize. "Gays and lesbians have defended our country since the
American Revolution," Dodd said. "Governor Perry's remarks were
outrageous and offensive and do not reflect the views of
fair-minded Texans who value the service of our men and women in
uniform. It is past time that those who fight for freedom abroad
be afforded those same liberties here at home."

In an interview with United Press International in March, Rep.
Sheila Jackson-Lee (D-Texas) told correspondent Pamela Hess that
"We ... (cannot be) falling victim to the idea we have throwaways
in our society, that Americans willing to serve can be thrown away.
We are losing some of America's best and brightest talents."

For more information, visit the Lesbian and Gay Rights Lobby of
Texas online at lgrl.org.

Servicemembers Legal Defense Network is a national, non-profit
legal services, watchdog and policy organization dedicated to
ending discrimination against and harassment of military personnel
affected by 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' and related forms of
intolerance. For more information, visit http://www.sldn.org.