September 13th, 2010
10:46 AM ET
Lady Gaga had not one, but four dates on her arm as she strode into last night's MTV Video Music Awards at L.A.'s Nokia Theatre: gay and lesbian soldiers who were discharged or opted to leave over the military's Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy.
"I'm here for a very, very important cause tonight," the eight-time Moonman winner, 24, told MTV. "These are all my friends and they are with SLDN.org, which is an organization that was founded in 1993 under the reaction to the Don't Ask, Don't Tell policies. Their stories are very inspiring and there's so much we can do right now."
According to the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, the soldiers are former West Point cadet Katie Miller, who resigned in August to protest the policy; and former U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. David Hall, former U.S. Air Force Major Mike Almy and former U.S. Army Sgt. First Class Stacy Vasquez, who were all discharged.
SLDN adds that Gaga met with Hall, Vasquez and Miller prior to her Sept. 7 show at the Verizon Center in Washington, D.C.
"Lady Gaga’s recognition of these fine patriots casts a spotlight on the unjust burden that Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell imposes upon the brave men and women who defend our country every day," SLDN executive director Aubrey Sarvis said in a statement, "and further underscores why the Senate must swiftly act to get rid of this despicable law for good."
A federal judge in California ruled Sept. 9 that the military's ban on openly gay soldiers is unconstitutional, and the Senate is expected to debate its repeal this month.
Gaga added last night, "No one person is more valuable than another person."
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