Movement on Lifting the Gay Marriage Ban? Sir, Yes Sir!

a-soldierThe wheels of progress move slowly, but the wheels in Washington move even slower. When it comes to Don’t Ask-Don’t Tell, we’ve reported that everyone, including the President, planned on doing something about it, sometime. Well, with a bill introduced by Rep. Ellen Tauscher making its way through Congress, Sen. Ted Kennedy searching for a Republican co-sponsor to the Senate version of the bill, Obama spokesperson Tommy Vieto reiterating the President’s line about how he has begun to have discussions with the Joint Chiefs and Defense Secretary Gates about DADT (which isn’t really news– he’s said he directed them to begin reviewing the change already, this is just another way of saying it) and the vast majority of Americans supporting a repeal on the ban, we think there’s a decent to middling chance that Don’t Ask-Don’t Tell will be repealed sometime sooner, rather than later.

We were going to pick a target date, but have you ever watched C-SPAN? Congress is like the world’s slowest, most charty, grandstanding P.T.A. meeting.

Rachel Maddow has a fun interview with Nathaniel Frank author of Unfriendly Fire: How the Gay Ban Undermines the Military and Weakens America , which essentially proves that DADT was a policy made-up without any facts to support its claims that gays threaten unit cohesion and that nobody in the military ever bothered to do any research on the topic.

And the AP reports on the non-news from the White House that Obama is having deep, late night talks over cigarettes and coffee with all the generals about the gays:

“The White House says President Barack Obama has begun consulting his top defense advisers on how to lift a ban on gays serving openly in the military.

But the administration won’t say how soon that might happen or whether a group of experts will be commissioned to study the issue in-depth, as some Democrats have suggested.

The move enables Obama to say he’s making good on his campaign promise to reverse the law, but doesn’t lock him into doing so anytime soon. The carefully calculated statement, released this week by White House spokesman Tommy Vietor, leaves enough wiggle room to prevent the hot-button issue from consuming Obama’s foreign policy agenda, which is dominated by ending the Iraq war and salvaging operations in Afghanistan.

“The president supports changing ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” Vietor said in the e-mailed statement.

“As part of a long-standing pledge,” Obama has begun consulting closely with Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Adm. Michael Mullen “so that this change is done in a sensible way that strengthens our armed forces and our national security,” Vietor said.”

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  • lessthan

    How about just lifting the ban? What exactly needs to be thought out at this point?

  • RichardR

    Last night on his MSNBC show Chris Matthews was sort of chiding ex-speaker of the House Tom LeMay about the Limbaugh-is-the-real-leader-of-the-Republican-party thing. Matthews made the point that Limbaugh currently seems to be ragging entirely about economics-fiscal-deficit stuff, and has dropped the social issues. They didn’t specifically mention DADT, but LeMay almost licked his chops and said something like “Oh, you’ll hear from him on those, they’re coming up soon.”

    Made me worry that they’ll soon be cranking up the conservative call-your-legislator machine on DADT.

    Despite that, I really think this is going to happen, sooner than later. Just terrific, so significant.

    And on another level, Rachel and this academic cutie Frank were adorable together, chemistry all complicit and smart and smiley.

  • petted

    @lessthan: The ban was a law passed by congress so to lift the ban you need to either repeal the law through legislation or challenge it in the courts – the courts wont touch it and the democrats don’t have the absolute majority they need to pass it in the senate nor are all democrats friendly to our community though it seems likely that it will pass after a certain amount of tete a tete and quid pro quo.

  • John K.

    Lessthan: I agree completely. Lift the ban and order every member of the military to comply with nondiscrimination on the basis of sexual orientation on pain of court martial. If they can follow any orders, they should be able to follow that one.

  • Daniel C. Davis

    @petted: Actually, President Obama said that while he could lift the ban through an executive order, he prefers to build support and let it go through Congress.

  • Sebbe

    I like the way Obama is handling this and getting the military involved in the transition. It is very smart.

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