View Full Version : Obama Pledges Again to End ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’

10-11-2009, 07:26 AM
Obama Pledges Again to End ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’


WASHINGTON — President Obama on Saturday renewed his vow to allow gay men and lesbians to serve openly in the military, but failed to offer a timetable for doing so — an omission likely to inflame critics who say he is not fighting aggressively enough for gay rights.

“I will end ‘don’t ask, don’t tell,’ ” Mr. Obama told an audience of nearly 3,000 people at a fund-raising dinner for the Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s largest gay advocacy group. “That is my commitment to you.”

The president’s emphatic declaration, on the eve of a major gay rights rally here, brought a huge roar from the crowd at the star-studded black-tie dinner, where tickets cost as much as $1,000 and entertainment was provided by the singer Lady Gaga and the cast of the new Fox comedy “Glee.” But outside the room, the president’s words met with a chillier reception.

Bil Browning, a blogger for Bilerico Project, a Web site aimed at a gay audience, said moments after the speech ended that the site was flooded with critical comments by people who said they had heard nothing new. “I could have watched one of his old campaign speeches and heard the same thing,” one wrote.

Even inside the room, reaction was mixed. Terry Penrod, a real estate agent from Columbus, Ohio, said some gay rights advocates were being impatient with the president, while Raj Malthotra, 29, a management consultant from Washington, said he thought the speech was a rehash of Mr. Obama’s past promises.

“For him, it’s buy more time until he needs our votes again,” Mr. Malthotra said.

Mr. Obama campaigned as a “fierce advocate” of equal rights for gays, he said, and he used Saturday’s speech to lay out his vision of the day when, as he said, “we as a nation finally recognize relationships between two men or two women are just as real and admirable as relationships between a man and a woman,” and when “no one has to be afraid to be gay in America.”

Yet the president’s relationship with the gay community has been a conflicted one. He does not support gay marriage — as a matter of Christian principle, he has said — and he got off to a bad start with the gay community when he invited the Rev. Rick Warren, who opposes same-sex unions, to deliver the invocation at his inauguration.

In the nine months since, Mr. Obama has made only limited progress on the issues that are important to gays. He has pushed for hate crime legislation, and a bill, approved in the House on Thursday, now appears headed for passage. He has put forth a package of domestic partnership benefits for federal workers, but faced criticism that the effort did not include health benefits. He has said he would push to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act, which allows states to refuse to recognize same-sex marriages in other states, but it remains on the books.

But of all the issues Mr. Obama has vowed to address, the Clinton-era “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy is perhaps the one that stirs the most emotion. Mr. Obama said Saturday night that he was working with the Pentagon and


10-11-2009, 07:51 AM
Obama is himself a homosexual.

Google: Larry Sinclair

10-11-2009, 08:06 AM
Obama is himself a homosexual.

Google: Larry Sinclair

Bi would be more accurate.

Its a very believable book, imo.

10-11-2009, 08:10 AM

10-11-2009, 08:21 AM
President Barack Obama restated his campaign pledge to allow homosexual men and women to serve openly in the military, but many in his audience of gay activists were left wondering when he would make good on the promise.

"I will end 'don't ask-don't tell,'" Obama said Saturday night to a standing ovation from the crowd of about 3,000 at the annual dinner of the Human Rights Campaign, a gay civil rights advocacy group. He offered no timetable or specifics and he acknowledged some may be growing impatient.

"I appreciate that many of you don't believe progress has come fast enough," Obama said. "Do not doubt the direction we are heading and the destination we will reach."

A day after the president's remarks, Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., the chairman of the Armed Services Committee, said he expects the ban to be lifted, but he said it's critical that the administration have the support of military leaders.

A Republican on the committee, Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, agreed with Levin that support within the military is important and said such a policy decision shouldn't be based on a "campaign pledge." Both senators appeared on NBC's "Meet the Press."

Some gay-rights advocates said they already have heard Obama's promises and now want a timeline. Cleve Jones, a pioneer activist and creator of the AIDS Memorial Quilt, said Saturday that Obama delivered a brilliant speech, but he added "it lacked the answer to our most pressing question, which is when."

"He repeated his promises that he's made to us before, but he did not indicate when he would accomplish these goals and we've been waiting for a while now," said Jones, national co-chair of a major gay-rights rally scheduled for Sunday on the National Mall.

Aubrey Sarvis, executive director of the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network said he was encouraged to hear Obama's pledge but added "an opportunity was missed tonight." He said his group "was disappointed the president did not lay out a timeline and specifics for repeal."

Obama also called on Congress to repeal the Defense Of Marriage Act, which limits how state, local and federal bodies can recognize partnerships and determine benefits. He also called for a law to extend benefits to domestic partners.

He expressed strong support for the HRC agenda of ending discrimination against gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgender people but stopped short of laying out a detailed plan for how to get there.

"My expectation is that when you look back on these years you will look back and see a time when we put a stop against discrimination ... whether in the office or the battlefield," Obama said.