Don't Ask, Don't Tell, Just Wait Awhile

From CNN:

In an overlooked YouTube video posted on Friday, a spokesman for Barack Obama said the president-elect is committed to ending the policy that bars openly gay men and women from serving in the U.S. armed forces.

In a response to a question on the Web site Change.gov asking whether Obama would get rid of the "don't ask, don't tell" policy, Obama spokesman Robert Gibbs said: "You don't hear politicians give a one-word answer much. But it's 'Yes.'"

Gibbs on Wednesday expanded on his answer, saying, "There are many challenges facing our nation now and the president-elect is focused first and foremost on jump-starting this economy.

"So not everything will get done in the beginning but he's committed to following through" with ending the policy against being openly gay in the military.

The DADT policy, which dates from the Clinton era, bans military recruiters or authorities from asking someone about his or her sexual preference, but also prohibits a US service member from revealing if he or she is gay.

Frankly, Congress is fully capable of leading the charge on this. In the 110th Congress, a bill was introduced in the House by Rep. Martin Meehan (D-MA), a member of the House Armed Services Committee, that would have implemented "a policy of nondiscrimination on the basis of sexual orientation." Congressman Meehan calls his bill to repeal the DADT ban the Military Readiness Enhancement Act. The bill would prohibit the military from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation, and it would specifically authorize anyone separated for homosexuality, bisexuality or homosexual conduct to be allowed back into the military if they wish.

The bill had 149 co-sponsors, but it never came up for a full vote in the House. It has yet to be re-introduced in the new 111th Congress. The bill requires 218 signatures to get it passed.

"The key here is to get bills that pass the House and the Senate, that we can get to President-elect Obama to sign, and I think that we can do that, certainly, the first year of the administration," one of the co-sponsors, Democratic Congresswoman Ellen Tauscher of California, told CNN in November.

No one should expect an avalanche of change on day one. The important thing to note is that yes, don't ask, don't tell will be ended. And that's cause for celebration.

Tags: Don't Ask Don't Tell (DADT), Military Readiness Enhancement Act. Congressman Martin Meehan (all tags)

Comments

14 Comments

Re: Don't Ask, Don't Tell, Just Wait Awhile

This is long overdue.  Fortunately, the times have changed enough for DADT to be brought to a fitting end.

by mikecraud 2009-01-14 05:55PM | 0 recs
Re: Don't Ask, Don't Tell, Just Wait Awhile
more on this
http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/fron t/6210144.html
by art3 2009-01-14 06:11PM | 0 recs
It's a goner

I understand Obama will be a busy man, and I think it would be fitting to end it on Day 1, but I can understand if it wats just a little longer.

by iohs2008 2009-01-14 06:33PM | 0 recs
Re: Don't Ask, Don't Tell, Just Wait Awhile

Most of the things I have read has put the time on this at late 2009  or early 2010. But Americablog is pessimistic, saying that the way DC work makes this unlikely to happen.

by bruh3 2009-01-14 06:57PM | 0 recs
there's no excuse

for this not happening in 2009. They already got an SCHIP bill through the House, they should be able to get repeal of DADT through quickly too.

The barrier is Democrats who still live in fear of right-wing hate radio. They don't understand that public opinion today on this issue is very different from where it was in 1993.

by desmoinesdem 2009-01-15 06:22AM | 0 recs
Re: there's no excuse

I agree. I do think they do need to have a deliberate plan. The problems regarding integration are real. Ie, what we learned from integration on race in the military says we need to have a clear plan in mind. On that l evel , I do think its smart to go a littel bit slower, but the idea of waiting passed 2010 is totally political fear.

by bruh3 2009-01-15 08:13AM | 0 recs
Re: Don't Ask, Don't Tell, Just Wait Awhile

Gonna run and enlist, eh, Charles?

by lojasmo 2009-01-15 03:19AM | 0 recs
Re: Don't Ask, Don't Tell, Just Wait Awhile

This is precisely what's wrong with this damn country. It's not all about the personal. If it is, then we will never have a society worth shit. It's a combination of personal and public.

by bruh3 2009-01-15 08:14AM | 0 recs
Obama can't end it

Because DADT is now an act of Congress, it will take an act of Congress to overturn it.  With the economy in major turmoil, Obama needs to spend his time working on getting economic changes made during the first 100 days.

If you look at the polls, the public is firmly behind his vision.   We need to get these changes done now while the GOP is on the defensive.  After he spends a few months on the economy, than he can focus on other issues, including DADT.

by gavoter 2009-01-15 04:45AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama can't end it

Your first two sentences seem to disagree with one another.  If it's up to Congress to change the law, how does it matter whether Obama is busy?  Is it really going to require that much of his personal time?

Ellen Tauscher has already said she plans to introduce a bill repealing DADT as soon as possible, so it's not like Congress will have to be dragged there kicking and screaming.  Realistically, the only reason for delay at this point seems to be optics.

by Steve M 2009-01-15 04:56AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama can't end it

What I mean by that is Obama can not just make a Presidential decree.   He needs to direct Congress to spend time working on that legislation.

At this time Obama needs to direct Congress to legislate on the economy.  He needs to be telling them what new initiatives they need to pass.

the statement is not contradictory.

by gavoter 2009-01-15 05:59AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama can't end it

Well, Ellen Tauscher sure seems to think she can introduce a bill without waiting for Obama to direct her to work on it.

The reason this is not likely to be a top priority is because of political considerations, not because there's only so many hours in the day.

by Steve M 2009-01-15 07:04AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama can't end it

rep. Tauscher can do whatever she wants, but if you think Nancy Pelosi it going to bring this to the floor in the first 100 days, I think you would be mistaken.  

The Public is expecting the Democrats to focus on the economy, and the Democrats need to follow through.

I have a feeling something will probably happen before the summer break when things are slowing down.

by gavoter 2009-01-15 07:08AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama can't end it


Don't act like a Villager. The ReThugs were embraced for taking a stand and having  a spine. That is what made it possible for them to pretend to be trustworthy. The Dems need the courage of our own convictions.

Did you know that gay people are also part of the public?  

DADT is used to harass high-performing women by labeling them as "gay" because they are successful in a male environment.

Half of 'the public' is female.

by redwagon 2009-01-15 07:50AM | 0 recs

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