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Kicking DADT Down The Road, And Into Obama’s State Of The Union?

by David Badash on January 25, 2010

in Civil Rights

Post image for Kicking DADT Down The Road, And Into Obama’s State Of The Union?

Will Obama Promise Repeal — Again?

For years under Bush, and for months under Obama, military leaders have been “kicking that can down the road,” when it comes to repealing Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.

All of a sudden, though, it seems there’s about as much speculation about “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” repeal in Obama’s State of the Union address as there is about Apple’s new –and as of yet, unannounced — tablet. (Coincidentially, speculation also has the Apple tablet being announced Wednesday.) (Hey, DOW, remember, good things come in threes…)

So, here’s the deal: Obama promised to repeal Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell (DADT) during his campaign. LGBTQ activists have been slowly but surely putting pressure on the White House to take action. Just ten days ago, in “While Prop 8 Takes Center Stage, Don’t Ask Don’t Tell Is About To Explode On The White House,” I quoted The Advocate who had learned of a high-level meeting that took place with over twenty key activists:

“The two-hour long meeting was unusual in that it assembled the advisers to major LGBT political donors from outside the Beltway such as Tim Gill, Jon Stryker and David Bohnett alongside DC-based lobby groups such as HRC, Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, the Center for American Progress, and The Palm Center as well as lobbyists with ties to the White House and Congress.”

Earlier today, Senator Carl Levin, Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said that he had been asked by the White House to postpone hearings he was scheduling on repealing DADT until after the State of the Union address. Marine Corps Times reports,

“Having junior officers and noncommissioned officers and petty officers testify could be an important step in getting the policy changed, Levin said, especially because he believes there are “generational differences” in views about the presence of gays and lesbians in the ranks. Younger people are more likely to be accepting of a policy change than older people, Levin said.”

Then, Joe Sudbay at AmericaBlog quoted The Hill, saying,

“A source familiar with some details of the initial draft of the State of the Union said it would address the repeal of the controversial law.”

Sudbay concludes,

“…for the record, we’ve heard speeches from Obama. We need to hear the President lay out the plan for the full repeal of the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy. And, then, we need to see the follow through.”

So, between Marine Corps Times, The Hill AmericaBlog, and The Advocate, it seems likely the president will address — and by address, we can only hope discuss repealing — Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell in his SOTU. Anything less would be unacceptable.

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