Whether He’s Ready or Not, Obama to Face Gay Military Ban Test


DEATH KNELL FOR DON’T ASK DON’T TELL? — An aide to Rep. Ellen O. Tauscher (D-Calif.) says the congresswoman will introduce legislation today to overturn Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, the decades-old ban on gays serving openly in the military. And with Tauscher putting the bill in front of legislators, she draws President Barack Obama into a political struggle he was hoping to avoid until at least later this year. You may remember how the issue totally consumed the early days of Bill Clinton’s presidency, but while Politico frets about a similar fate for Obama over the issue, our sense is that Obama knows what he’s doing, he’s reached out to the military already and that times have changed: The vast majority of Americans want to see Don’t Ask Don’t Tell repealed.

No word on whether Tauscher is acting with White House or Democratic leadership consent in introducing the bill, but the Service Member’s Legal Defense Network, which represents the brave gays and lesbians in uniform is ready to roll with whatever come their way, according to Politico:

“Even as the administration gathers its footing, the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network — a group dedicated to changing the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy — is launching a new lobbying drive to repeal the restriction.

The group would prefer that Obama fold a repeal of the ban against gays in the military into the defense authorization bill for fiscal year 2010, which is expected to be sent to lawmakers in late April, said Executive Director Aubrey Sarvis.

“I expect this is an option they will be looking at at the White House and the Defense Department,” Sarvis said. “But I don’t know if it is an option that they will exercise.”

Either way, the issue is likely to arise during House Armed Services Committee hearings on the bill, he said. And that could expose inconsistencies among the president, the secretary of defense and the uniformed military.”

UPDATE: Because Congress called a “Snow Day” (read: Pelosi’s parties are getting out of control), the bill will be introduced tomorrow.

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  • ajax

    I think this is a thornier issue than most people realize. If DADT falls, then how does DOMA stand?

    If you allow homosexuals to serve openly in the military, the next thing you’ll know, you’ll have to allow sheep to serve openly. And what about people who want to serve in the Army and the Navy? What next? Biserviceuals?

  • rogue dandelion

    @ajax: closet sheep in the military- I love it!
    bi is fine with me
    but I draw the line at 3, no one can work in the air force, army and navy- that is unnatural.

    Is it just me, or is this least important leg of the gay federal agenda.
    hate crimes leg, ENDA and DOMA, you are up!

  • 7SnowyNights

    I like Don’t Ask Don’t Tell.

    If they ever bring back the draft, I can always make out with my boyfriend at the recruiting station.

  • RichardR

    @rogue dandelion: it’s at least as important as DOMA and ENDA because it is the “leg” most likely to collapse soon, the most difficult for opponents to defend, and its dismantling will inevitably lead to and ease the way to federal hate crime legislation, ENDA, and the end of DOMA. inevitaable

  • ceazer


  • Michael W.

    @ceazer: The only thing Obama needs to come through on is his signature. If they get it to his desk, he’ll sign on the dotted line.

  • Sebbe

    Lets just hope she is working through the “democratic leadership” or this will be squashed real quick. Any representative can introduce a bill, sure, but I’m laughing about the realities about how things actually move through the house. Hope she called Nancy P first, and I doubt it since we haven’t heard her name. I suspect this bill will stay in committee for the time being unfortunately.

  • Chitown Kev


    true, but at least the issue is out there. Now this is where HRC is supposed to get to work and keep it out there until Obama gets it on his desk.

  • ceazer

    @Michael, I know, but He should convince democrats and republicans to support this bill, He convinced them about the stimulus bill, He should do the same thing for us. Clinton screwed us over, now Pres. Obama should fix this mess!

  • Sebbe

    @Chitown Kev – Oh, I agree, I just hope it doesn’t get buried and pushed off cause someone pisses of Nancy P.

  • TeleUte83

    Not as critical as magically saving our economy from our own indebtedness, but… repealing DADT and amending the UCMJ are crucial to winning more rights.

    So the military goes, so too does civilian society.

    The harder questions is what happens post-DADT for us in the military? Will sexual orientation be treated like just another item during EO/Equal Opportunity briefings? I’m not worried about physical abuse, but I am worried, as an officer, that some soldiers will be slower to obey and incite disobedience that will be hard to call out. But of course, we have ways of dealing with that…

  • Bill Perdue

    The Democrats run Congress.

    Very few Republicans will vote for repeal of this Clinton legacy. So it depends on how many Democrats are bigots. At last count that was quite a few.

  • Mark M

    @7snowynights: NOPE…. if there is a draft, then being gay won’t get you out. Look it up. Conscripted servicemen don’t have the same requirements.

  • Sebbe

    @7SnowyNights – Moving to Canada or a neutral country like Sweden or Switzerland would though. Maybe we can get a buy one get one plane ticket!!

    Canada has gotten a little trickier in recent years and has sent people back that are war deserters.

  • John in CA

    With a huge 79 seat majority, Nancy Pelosi is the House. The House is Nancy Pelosi. And since she isn’t a particularly strong Speaker, the White House essentially runs the show legislatively. Make no mistake about it. If this DADT repeal goes nowhere, it is because the President of the United States has decided he just don’t want to deal with it right now.

  • keanewwww reeeeeeves


  • Nuytsia

    The USA should adopt the policy that European countries have enacted.

    The Europeans have covered all the objections that need to be thought out like bullyism, sexual pressure and the like.

    It works for them and it should for the rest of the world.

    Western Australia

  • Gurlene

    I hope he handles this in a way that does not allow Rush (the windbag) Limbaugh to use as a rallying cry for the new KKK of the millenium he is no doubt forming.

  • ceazer

    @Gurlene: Who gives a shit about what Rush says? The guy is evil mac evil.

  • Mark

    @Michael W.:

    Exactly. This only requires balls. And a pen filled with ink.

  • ousslander

    This should be a done deal since Obama secretly supports gay equality and now has been elected. Let’s see if the democrats are truly behind us. no pun intended. They have the majority or are they just as bigoted as the republicans are accused of being. Though I think the dems bigotry would be excused away and forgiven.
    As someone who was actually asked and told, then discharged I would like to see this repealed.

  • Captain Freedom

    Let’s face it. The Religious Right hasn’t carried out their Final Solution for gays yet. They much rather see us exterminated than ever have any rights.

Comments are closed.