So you'll forgive me when I take this headline with a pound of salt, "Obama Backs 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' Compromise That Could Pave Way For Repeal." Obama has done jackshit but give lip service on repeal. There are others who actually HAVE been working on this issue, especially Rep. Patrick Murphy, along with several US Senators (e.g, Joe Lieberman and Carl Levin). But Patrick Murphy is the one who has really been pushing this, as the following video makes clear:
Note the date on that video - 2008.
The other person pushing for repeal is Senator Lieberman, along with Sen. Carl Levin:
It is not that Obama is insisting that this be brought now. Rather,it seems he is making a political calculation since it has become clear the House is going forward with this, not because it is the right thing to do:
President Obama has endorsed a "don't ask, don't tell" compromise between lawmakers and the Defense Department, the White House announced Monday, an agreement that may sidestep a key obstacle to repealing the military's policy banning gay men and lesbians from serving openly in the armed forces.
The compromise was finalized in meetings Monday at the White House and on Capitol Hill. Lawmakers will now, within days, vote on amendments that would repeal the Clinton-era policy, with a provision ensuring that any change would not take effect until after the Pentagon completes a study about its impact on troops. That study is due to Congress by Dec. 1.
In a letter to lawmakers pushing for a legislative repeal, White House budget director Peter Orszag wrote Monday that the administration "supports the proposed amendment."
"Such an approach recognizes the critical need to allow our military and their families the full opportunity to inform and shape the implementation process through a thorough understanding of their concerns, insights and suggestions," he wrote.
While gay rights advocates hailed the move as a "dramatic breakthrough," it remained uncertain whether the deal would secure enough votes to pass both houses of Congress. Republicans have vowed to maintain "don't ask, don't tell," while conservative Democrats have said they would oppose a repeal unless military leaders made it clear that they approved of such a change.
Even if the compromise language passes, a legislative repeal would take effect only after Obama certified that the change would not harm the nation's military readiness.
In a statement, Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese said the announcement "paves the path to fulfill the President's call to end 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' this year and puts us one step closer to removing this stain from the laws of our nation."
The White House had initially hoped that Congress would wait until after the Pentagon study was completed before bringing up a repeal, but senior lawmakers made it clear that they intended to push ahead on the issue, with or without administration support. Now the controversial issue will return to the national conversation as fall reelection campaigns gear up.
"...but senior lawmakers made it clear that they intended to push ahead on the issue, with or without administration support." Again, this is not exactly Obama PUSHING for this.
Memo to Joe Salmonese - this is not the President wanting "to fulfill the President's call." This is Obama seeing the writing on the wall, IMHO, and trying to cover his backside.
He is not the only one, though:
Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), who is running for reelection and had previously supported a repeal of the law, said at a recent congressional hearing that the legislation is "imperfect but effective" and that "we should not be seeking to overturn."
Rep. Mike Pence (Ind.), a member of the House GOP leadership, said Monday of a repeal: "The American people don't want the American military to be used to advance a liberal political agenda. And House Republicans will stand on that principle."
While some Democrats, particularly in the House, wanted to wait for the Pentagon study to be finished, more-liberal Democrats were pushing for an immediate repeal. The compromise is designed to satisfy both concerns.
"We can live with this and we're asking, enthusiastically, members to support and vote for it," said Aubrey Sarvis, executive director of the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network.
Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman (I-Conn.) and Rep. Patrick J. Murphy (D-Pa.), the lead sponsors of repeal legislation, promised Monday night to pursue their goal quickly.
The White House letter clears the way for votes Thursday in the House on the overall spending bill, which Democrats expect will include Murphy's amendment. The same day, the Senate Armed Services Committee will vote on its version of the spending bill, and Lieberman will introduce the same repeal language.
"It is our firm belief that it is time to repeal this discriminatory policy that not only dishonors those who are willing to give their lives in service to their country but also prevents capable men and women with vital skills from serving in the armed forces," Lieberman and Murphy said in a statement.
If the compromise is approved, the 1993 policy could be removed from the nation's law books within weeks. That would satisfy one of the most significant promises Obama made to the gay community during his campaign.
Once in office, however, Obama moved slowly, often causing frustration among his gay supporters.
That's what I am talking about, right there. Obama has been dragging his feet on this issue. Again, he's not the only one:
In February, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates and Adm. Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joints Chiefs of Staff, said they supported a repeal of the policy. Mullen said, "I cannot escape being troubled by the fact that we have in place a policy which forces young men and women to lie about who they are in order to defend their fellow citizens."
But Gates angered some activists by requesting time to assess how best to make the cultural shift within the ranks.
The effort to reverse the ban accelerated with Obama's one-sentence endorsement of a repeal in his January State of the Union address, sources close to the negotiations said. The next morning, advocates began a multimillion-dollar effort to convince six moderate members of the Senate Armed Services Committee.
On Sunday, White House officials invited gay rights leaders to the White House for a Monday-morning meeting with Deputy Chief of Staff Jim Messina and administration lawyers, according to sources familiar with the meeting.
Here's the thing - I would be delighted to have this horrible bill repealed. At the time, it was far better than what they had, but it has been flawed from the get-go.
However - Obama has done NOTHING to change this law. He has a history of claiming credit for accomplishments he didn't earn, and with which he had nothing to do. We saw that time and time again with Candidate Obama, taking Hillary Clinton's policies whole cloth, claiming work done on committees as a US Senator, as an IL state senator,and as president. It is infuriating that he will get credit for the repeal of this law (should it pass Congress) when he has done NOTHING to effect that change itself to essentially say he won't stand in the way.
I will rejoice when DADT is repealed, absolutely. But unlike HRC's Joe Salmonese, among others, I'll give credit where credit is due: Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, Rep. Patrick Murphy, and Senators Joe Lieberman and Carl Levin.
Obama does not belong in that list, not by a long shot. The long list of homophobic associates and close friends of his speak volumes to me. Don't even get me started his new appointee, Jonathan I. Katz, a RAGING homophobe who refers to gay people as "sodomites," among other things. So, uh, yeah - not a ringing endorsement, if you ask me.
Repeal DADT for sure, and give credit where credit is due. That's what I think. How about you?
UPDATE: Ellen D at No Quarter queried what would be in DADT, and what would REALLY happen if it was passed. Excellent question. And now I have an answer for her. This is from Adm. Mullen, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. I have to say, the news is not all that good:
The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said yesterday that he’s comfortable with proposed legislation that seeks to repeal the law that bans gay men and lesbians from serving openly in the military because it includes “very clear language” that gives senior leaders the final say in whether it’s implemented.
The proposed amendment, which Congress could put to a vote as soon as this week, wouldn’t immediately go into effect if passed, Navy Adm. Mike Mullen told about 500 servicemembers at a town hall session here.
Implementation wouldn’t take place until after a Defense Department study assessing its impact is completed, the chairman explained, and military and defense leaders get to weigh in on the findings.
The review, expected to be completed by December, is progressing well, the chairman said, “but by no means is it over.”
Oh, boy. That doesn't sound all that promising. Neither does this:
Mullen said he’s particularly interested in determining how the law’s repeal would affect “readiness, unit cohesion and our ability to do our mission.” That, he said, requires input from the people directly affected.
“That was what was behind making sure we surveyed our people and our families -- to understand … the potential impact,” he told the group. “And I, as a senior military leader in the country, feel obligated to make sure I understand that, so should it change, I can lead that and understand what the impacts are.”
After reviewing results of the study, Mullen, the service chiefs and Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates would provide their recommendations to President Barack Obama. “So having that information will inform me and our leaders about what our recommendations will be,” he said.
Mullen called the “certification trigger” provided in the proposed amendment critical.
“The language in there right now preserves my prerogative – and I believe, my responsibility – to give the best military advice,” he said.
“That trigger is to certify whether we should move ahead with that change, even if the law were to repeal it,” he told a reporter following the session.
Mullen brought up the issue at the end of his town hall session after no one had asked about it. He occasionally gets questions about it when he meets with servicemembers, the chairman told reporters traveling with him, but just as often doesn’t. “I haven’t found it to be a particularly burning issue,” he said.
Am I understanding this correctly? Even if DADT is repealed, it might not change anything? At the very least, even if it was repealed tomorrow, it sounds like nothing will change at least until Dec. 1 when the study is due to be completed. The more things change...