balls to the wall

First Powell, Now Sen. Orrin Hatch: Can Gay Activists Exploit the Momentum to Repeal DADT?

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He still needs to see just what sort of proposal the White House and Pentagon has in mind, but Sen. Orrin Hatch, the Republican from Utah, says he won’t stand for prejudice of any kind, and that includes prohibiting gays from serving openly in the military.

Moreover, the doesn’t believe this crap about how once you let the gays have their rights, everyone is going to start asking for “special rights.”

This is fantastic. What you have, here, is a senior Republican senator backing an effort for equality (and disagreeing with a one Sen. John McCain, who supports continued discrimination). This is the same man who voted (twice) to ban gay marriage at the federal level, against adding sexual orientation to federal hate crimes statutes, and told Utah’s GOP they should be proud because “we don’t have the gays and lesbians with us.”

The announcement arrives on the same day as Gen. Colin Powell’s fullest endorsement yet of a DADT repeal. Also huge.

Which leaves only one thing to be decided: How will anti-DADT groups like Servicemembers United, Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, the Gay & Lesbian Activists Alliance, and yes, even HRC exploit and build upon this momentum to get other conservatives (and that includes Democrats) to join the effort, and continue to mount pressure on lawmakers to speed things up?

(For example: Reach out to conservative black lawmakers, and show them how DADT disproportionately affects black women. Talk to congressmen and women who have children serving in the armed forces, and engage them in a dialogue about how the policy can help keep their kids safe — all the while references Powell and Hatch. Which isn’t to say these groups aren’t already doing this, but the fruit has never been more ripe.)

Moreover, these groups must learn whether legislators like Hatch, who profess to “want to do what’s right” about discriminatory laws, can be counted on for support of other equality measures.

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  • Cam

    There is no momentum that the Dem’s can’t grind to a halt, or groups like HRC can mess up, but DADT is so blatantly unfair that even some staunch republicans are coming out for it. Additionally, the Mormon church took such a beating from the prop 8 debacle that it is good PR for them if a prominent Mormon Senator comes out for Repeal.

  • Cam

    Actually, rewatching this…he also hemmed and hawed and gave a bit of a non-answer at the end.

  • Brian NJ

    There is a tipping point we are reaching with gay rights. Soon, the flood gates will open and all of these former enemies will want to jump off the sinking ship, while prisoner-of-culture wars McCain will find himself with his legs chained on his second prison, bigotry.

  • BamBam

    He didn’t say he wanted to repeal it. He said in code-speak that he realizes he can’t win tight now, and will drowned it in committee and amendments.

    This is useless. If republicans want to make waves for me, they should have someone call for immediate repeal and say England, Israel, etc. were our experiments, and they worked.

  • bystander

    I am surprised that Obama isn’t spending a lot more time on this issue. This is actually the perfect issue for him to be triumphing right now. In addition to being red meat for his base, it also very clearly separates himself from McCain and many in the republican leadership. Because 75% of Americans actually a support a DADT repeal that means he has the opportunity to put 75% of Americans on his side of an issue and republicans in congress with the 25% of Americans many independents would consider unpleasantly far-right. This is a great issue for him right now. He should be pouncing on it. Too bad he’s incompetent……

  • 1EqualityUSA

    #3 I love this post. We must never forget how Democrats bailed on us when we needed them most. They need to hurt.

  • 1EqualityUSA

    Obama’s administration will time the repeal to right prior to reelection time. Pegged it a year ago. Get rid of DOMA!

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