Archives Center, National Museum of American History

Guide to the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network Records

Summary
Collection ID:
NMAH.AC.1282
Creators:
Servicemembers Legal Defense Network
Dates:
1975-2009, undated
bulk 1993-2008
Languages:
English
.
Physical Description:
7.5 Cubic feet
23 boxes
Repository:
This collection contains records and research material produced and collected by Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (SLDN), a lobbying and legal assistance organization for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender servicepersons. They were instrumental in overturning the United States Department of Defense's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy.

Scope and Contents
Scope and Contents
This collection contains correspondence, case files, legal briefs, subject files, research files, press releases, office records, clipping files, publications, and other material produced and collected by Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (SLDN), a lobbying and non-profit legal services organization for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender military servicepersons founded in the aftermath of the passage of the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" (DADT) legislation of December 1993. These records do not include material generated post 2009 and the final two years before the official overturning of DADT in September 2011. Before donation to the Archives Center, SLDN removed any material that they deemed sensitive, personal, or in violaton of their client's privacy.
Correspondence contains that which was sent by SLDN and received by SLDN. Major correspondents were: the Executive Office of the President, members of Congress, officials of the Department of Defense and other defense related federal agencies, other similarly focused non-profit organizations as well as private citizens. Correspondence may also include petitions, corresonpondence with clients of SLDN, those seeking legal services and or statistics related to DADT and others. Case files are generally refence copies of cases filed by SLDN, individuals, or invdividuals with other organizations relating to LGBT treatment within the military. Case files contain most often the public record copy of the legal brief that was filed with the courts and any supporting or relevant documents. Legal briefs relate to cases filed by SLDN or to the cases that in some way informed those legal cases and issues related to the mission of SLDN. Subject and research files were complied from various sources and contain copies or original material produced in support of the SLDN mission with regard to legal actions or as a lobbying organization. Press releases are generally those produced by SLDN. Office records pertain to the day to day workings of the organization and inter-office memorada and communication between employees or other organizations. Clipping files were compiled from a variety of national and international sources such as newspapers, magazines, and journals and used as reference tools within SLDN. Publications were those produced either by SLDN or collected by SLDN for research and reference purposes in-house.

Arrangement
Arrangement
The collection is arranged into four series, one of which has been arranged further into subseries. The contents of each series or subseries are arranged chronologically. The series and subseries arrangement of the records is as follows:
Series 1, Administrative Records, 1994-2008
Series 2, Subject Files, 1980-2009 (bulk 1994-2009)
Subseries 1: Research Files, 1980-2008, undated
Subseries 2: Department of Defense, 1985-2003, undated
Subseries 3: United States Army, 1994-2005
Subseries 4: United States Navy, 1991-2008, undated
Subseries 5: United States Air Force, 1994-2004, undated
Subseries 6: United States Coast Guard, 1996-2005
Subseries 7: National Guard and Reserves, 2004
Series 3, Publications, 1988-2007
Series 4, Case Files, 1975-2008, undated

Biographical / Historical
Biographical / Historical
Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (SLDN) is a non-profit founded in 1993 in the wake of the Clinton adminstration's efforts to make military service legal and non-discriminatory for openly lesbian, gay, and bisexual persons. The organization employs less than twenty persons and has a Board of Directors. SLDN provided legal services to LGBT servicmembers and was also a lobbying and policy organization. This initiative resulted in the passing of legislation commonly referred to as "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" (DADT) in December 1993. DADT prohibited military personnel from discriminating against or harassing closeted homosexual or bisexual servicemembers or applicants while still barring openly homosexual or bisexual persons from military service. This policy proved controversial and continued to result in the discrimination and separation of LGBT persons from the military.
The original purpose of SLDN was working to overturn the DADT policy through legal or legislative means while providing free legal services to servicemembers targeted by DADT. Its scope of concern not only included active duty personnel but the National Guard, reserves, and officer training programs. On occasion it worked with other similarly focused organizations and directly with the Department of Defense and other relevant federal agencies. By the time of the repeal of DADT in September 2011 and its official enactment in January 2012, SLDN had provided legal aid to thousands of servicepersons.
In July 2012 SLDN announced that it was merging with OutServe, effective in October 2012. OutServe is an organization of active LGBT military servicepersons, reportedly one of the largest employee resource groups in the world. SLDN continues to provide free legal advice and assistance and also works with veteran organizations while maintaining a "watchdog" status on LGBT issues within the military establishment.

Administration
Author
Franklin A. Robinson, Jr.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
This collection was donated by Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (SLDN), 2012.
Processing Information
Processed by Franklin A. Robinson, Jr., archives specialist, May 2012; supervised by Vanessa Broussard-Simmons, archivist.

Using the Collection
Conditions Governing Use
Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives Center makes no guarantees concerning copyright restrictions. Other intellectual property rights may apply. Archives Center cost-recovery and use fees may apply when requesting reproductions.
Preferred Citation
Servicemembers Legal Defense Network Records, 1877-2009 (bulk 1993-2008), undated, Archives Center, National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution
Conditions Governing Access
This collection is open for research.
Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements
Researchers must handle unprotected photographs with gloves. As of October 2012 this collection is located at the Garber Facility, Building 19, Suitland, Maryland.

Related Materials
Materials in the Archives Center, National Museum of American History
Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Collection, 1942-2012, undated (AC1146)

More Information

Keywords
Keywords table of terms and types.
Keyword Terms Keyword Types
Don't ask, don't tell (Military personnel policy) Topical Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Articles -- 20th century Genre Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Interviews Genre Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Newsletters -- 20th century Genre Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Legal documents -- 20th century Genre Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Women Topical Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
War Topical Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Instructional materials Genre Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Equality Topical Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Government and politics -- United States Congress actions Topical Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
United States Department of Defense Topical Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
United States Coast Guard Topical Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Homosexuality Topical Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
United States Marine Corps Topical Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
United States Air Force Topical Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Articles -- 1950-2000 Genre Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Articles Genre Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Bisexuality Topical Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Civil rights Topical Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Civil rights -- United States Topical Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Clippings -- 20th century Genre Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Clippings -- newspaper -- Virginia Genre Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Courts-martial and courts of inquiry Topical Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Research Genre Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Air pilots Topical Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Activism Topical Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
United States Navy -- 20th century Topical Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
National defense Topical Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Air defenses -- United States Topical Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Correspondence -- 20th century Genre Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Writings Genre Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Interviews -- 1990-2000 Genre Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Interviews -- 2000-2020 Genre Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Articles -- 1940-1980 Genre Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Articles -- 1880-1940 Genre Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Armed Forces -- Operations other than war Topical Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Legislative documents Genre Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Legal records Genre Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Legal documents Genre Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Legal correspondence Genre Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Legislation (legal concepts) Genre Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Laws -- United States Congress actions Topical Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Lawsuits Topical Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Office files Genre Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Project files Genre Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Letters Genre Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Periodicals Genre Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Lesbianism Topical Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Manuals -- 1970-1990 Genre Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
U. S. Army Topical Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Sexual harassment Topical Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Sodomy Topical Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Sailors Topical Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Letters (correspondence) -- 20th century. Genre Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Trials (Sex crimes) Topical Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Soldiers Topical Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Government records Genre Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Annual reports Genre Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Perry, William J., Secretary of Defense Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Deutch, John M. (Undersecretary of Defense) Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
OutServe Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Rumsfeld, Donald, Secretary of Defense Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Cox Commission Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Powell, Colin, General Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Frank, Barney, Representative Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Cohen, William S. (Secretary of Defense) Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Studds, Gerry E. (Congressman) Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Burton, Sala, Representative Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid

Repository Contact
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
P.O. Box 37012
Suite 1100, MRC 601
Washington, D.C. 20013-7012
archivescenter@si.edu