idiot logic

HRC’s Ex-Marine Eric Alva Doesn’t Want Obama Ending DADT Because It’ll Cut Off ‘Discussion’

Marine Staff Sgt. Eric Alva might be best known as the first American soldier wounded in Iraq, when a landmine took his right leg in March 2003. But in working with the Human Rights Campaign since 2006, he’s now know for being a gay former servicemember out there spreading the HRC gospel. Like how he would hate to see President Obama issue an executive order killing Don’t Ask Don’t Tell — because doing so would silence the discussions about the legality of the law.

The comments from Alva, 37, came during a speech Friday in front of the Gay and Lesbian Association of San Antonio College (he’s a San Antonio native). We only have this paraphrasing to go on:

Sgt. Alva, in addressing the recent injunction, Obama’s appeal of the decision and the fact that Obama has continued to refuse to sign an executive order ending the policy, stated, “I do not want Obama to sign an executive order, ending don’t ask, don’t tell.” He went on to explain that, if the president chose to end the policy it would put an end to the discussions; discussions he believes are important in light of the recent and highly publicized LGBT youth suicides.

An executive order would end discussion on DADT? No. Nor will Congress killing the law, or a court upholding its injunction against the law’s implementation. The “discussion” — or debate or dialogue or whatever term you prefer — is not going to die anytime soon just because we witness a change in the law. “Discussion” will rage on as long as we have politicians like Sen. John McCain who use gay troops as political wedge issues. In passing the Matthew Shepard Act, “discussion” about hate crimes — from the actual committing of crimes to the legality and ethics of adding additional penalties for the motivation behind a crime — didn’t go anywhere. Knocking down Prop 8 will not end discussion about marriage equality. The second coming of Jesus will not end discussion about whether he is the lord and savior.

If the best argument for Obama not killing DADT with a pen stroke is fearing it’ll end debate on the issue, by all means, let the man sign, because we’re going to be having this discussion for at least the next decade. In the meantime, how about we keep the conversation going while gay soldiers aren’t shamed into staying quiet?

Or maybe Obama’s Justice Department could go ahead and appeal the DADT ruling … but request the court kill the law by arguing it is unconstitutional.

That’s one strategy being floated by former U.S. Solicitor General Walter Dellinger: The theoretical rule is that a law that infringes on liberty …is only constitutional if it advances a governmental purpose. Now, the Solicitor General would assume that Congress can decide the military purpose and here Congress has decided that it advances a military mission…but the President, as Commander in Chief, can make his own judgment that it is not necessary and if he concludes as he has said that it’s harmful to the national defense, then in his belief he doesn’t have to give deference to the political branch, he is a political branch.”

It’s a strategy at least twice employed by George H. W. Bush’s administration — and for Obama, it could have a political upside, too. Wonkroom summarizes:

“I think there are enough instances where the government has done that,” he said. “This is a middle ground between unilaterally not complying with the law and going in an actually defending, arguing that it’s constitutional.” He explained that in this way, the government would also avoid making “malicious” or “homophobic” arguments that are often made by certain conservative organization. “Once you get rid of those arguments, you get down to making arguments that are sort of weaker and weaker and you can be accused by critics of the administration from the right of throwing the case not doing the job. It’s almost better to be candid about it and say…. we’re just going to flat out say, there is not a sufficient government justification for this discrimination and burden….[but] we’re going to give the court the last word.”

Then again, when President Bush Sr. tried it, both times the Supreme Court voted 5-4 to uphold the law.

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  • DADT Victim

    Alva doesn’t want DADT to end because it means he won’t get to go all over the country getting paid to speak to people. He knows where his meal ticket is, and doesn’t want to give up feeling important. If DADT goes away, the attention whore doesn’t get any attention.

  • Henry

    Or Obama could start acting like a President instead of a lap servant to the Pentagon. After all, he is the Commander in Chief, but I guess it’s just not his style.

  • craig

    Oh Eric I have lost ALL respect for you. You were my Facebook buddy and everything. Reading this makes me sick. Get off the payroll and off your ass sitting at Starbucks all day long and push GLBT rights forward versus wishing they stall out on us.

    HRC and our worthless President are bad enough allies.

  • Cam

    1. His comments are ridiculously out of date. Obama could end DADT by instructing the Justice Dept. not to appeal. But as an Employee of HRC he is instructed to toe the party line and not to do or say anything that will cut into their fundraising.

    2. Should schools have not been integrated by the courts because that would have ended “Discussion”?

    3. Should interacial marriage not have been allowed to be legalized by the courts because it would end “Discussion”?

    Talk about drinking the Kool Aide of his own discrimination, he and his bosses should be ashamed of themselves. His comments are beyond sad, they are supporting discrimination against gays.

  • DR

    While I respect the fact that an executive order could be undone, this is, without a doubt, one of the dumbest things ever to come from the lips of a so-called activist.

    Courts upholding the ruling in the Log Cabin Republican case would keep the dialogue going, not continuing the policy of DADT. I am so glad I didn’t spend the couple of hundred bucks it would have cost for a meet-and-greet with this guy last year. What a disappointment.

    …Then again, he is an HRC mouthpiece, so why should I expect anything else. After all, if DADT is gone, where oh where will the HRC get money from???

  • reason

    @Cam: The administrations argument for appeal has already been articulated hundreds of times. All the case that you listed were ruled on by the U.S. Supreme Court Brown v.s. Board Loving v.s. Virginia, DADT has not been ruled on by the U.S. Supreme Court.

    For the millionth time an executive order can not kill DADT granted that it is a standing law passed by congress. Stop loss which is already in effect does not stop expulsions of GBLT due to the way the legislation was crafted. Queerty conspicuously fails to mention that in order to perpetrate this lie. It is grossly dishonest and exactly what Bill O’reilly is doing over at Fox News. Eric Alva obviously doesn’t know what he is talking about, granted that he works at HRC makes me question the intelligence of the entire operation.

    The DADT report will be here in less then a month and a half, there is no point on being hysterical until after the president has completed the measures he said he was going to take.

  • Cam

    @reason: said…

    “@Cam: The administrations argument for appeal has already been articulated hundreds of times. All the case that you listed were ruled on by the U.S. Supreme Court Brown v.s. Board Loving v.s. Virginia, DADT has not been ruled on by the U.S. Supreme Court.

    1. No, it hasn’t been articulated hundreds of times, if it had perhaps you would have known what to claim they were saying. Their defense has been.
    a. The Administration HAS to defend any federal law with the DOJ. That has been proven to be a lie, and a list has made the rounds of all the laws that previous presidents refused to defend.

    b. Since their first excuse was proven to be a lie, they are now claiming that DADT should be repealed by Congress, not by the courts. The cases I mentioned absolutly matter because The White House didn’t specify “The Supreme Court”, they said the courts, so that being the case, I need to know why the court was a valid reason to get rid of other types of segregation, but not gay segregation?

  • the crustybastard


    In mid ’93, Democrats had majorities in both houses, and Congress enacted the “Homosexual Conduct Law” (10 U.S.C. §654) that absolutely banned gay people from joining or serving in the military in any capacity.

    President Clinton issued Defense Directive 1304.26 (“DADT policy”) in late ’93, which allowed for gay people to join and serve provided they were able to keep their sexuality secret.

    The fact that the DADT policy even exists proves that the president can change the nature and effect of antigay legislation enacted by Congress — at least to the extent that it affects military policy.

    It also proves that Republican presidents don’t reflexively demolish every Democratic president’s smallest efforts on behalf of gay rights.

    You cannot imagine that gays serving in the military as a matter of policy somehow escaped the notice of everybody within and sympathetic to the GWB administration.

    Well, maybe you could.

Comments are closed.