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26 September 2010

Obama Administration Comes Down On The Wrong Side Of Don't Ask, Don't Tell

"You don't need to be straight to fight and die for your country. You just need to shoot straight."

-1964 Republican presidential nominee & U.S. Senator Barry Goldwater

In what world would Republicans have a better gay rights record than that of a so-called progressive, Democratic presidential administration?

We are living in that world, 2010 America, and a GOP-allied group paid more than lip-service to the nation's gay community as the Democratic administration of President Barack Obama hemmed and hawed their way around an important GLBT issue.

Six years after first taking legal action to overturn the discriminatory "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" military policy, the Log Cabin Republicans won a victory for gay Americans everywhere. United States District Court Judge Virginia A. Phillips ruled that "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" is unconstitutional.

A federal judge in California on Thursday declared the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy unconstitutional, saying it violates both the First Amendment rights to free speech and the Fifth Amendment rights to due process in the U.S. constitution.

The opinion strikes down the 1993 law that bars from the military any servicemember who engages in “homosexual conduct,” has a “propensity” to do so, or even just states that he or she is a “homosexual or bisexual.”

Keen, Lisa (2010-9-9). Federal judge declares DADT unconstitutional. Dallas Voice. Retrieved on 2010-9-26.

Soon after Judge Phillips' ruling, objection was filed.

But the objection came from the unlikeliest of sources -- the Obama Department of Justice.

The Obama administration is objecting to a request for an immediate halt to the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy after a federal court ruled that the policy barring gays from serving openly is unconstitutional.

"A court should not compel the Executive to implement an immediate cessation...particularly at a time when the military is engaged in combat operations and other demanding military activities around the globe," the government said in a court filing.

Rizzo, Jennifer (2010-9-23). CNN. Retrieved on 2010-9-26.

In response to the actions of the Obama Justice Department, Log Cabin Republicans Executive Director R. Clarke Cooper said, "We are deeply disappointed with this Administration's decision."

"Yet again, the Obama Administration has failed to live up to its campaign promise to repeal this unconstitutional law for the servicemembers of this country."

White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs, seeking political cover for the President, issued a statement September 23rd saying the DOJ's objection to Judge Phillips' ruling "in no way diminishes the President’s firm commitment to achieve a legislative repeal of DADT."

I disagree.

The end game here is not, as the White House puts it, a "legislative repeal of DADT." The goal is a complete repeal of DADT, regardless of how that repeal may come about.

The Log Cabin Republicans took action. The GOP-allied group filed a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell." They won, and now Republicans have a better record on this particular GLBT issue because they got results.

Contrast that to the mealy-mouthed bowl of mush gay Americans are getting from President Obama.

The Obama Administration says they're committed to a "legislative repeal."

What the hell does that even mean?

Page 36 of the 2008 Democratic National Platform reads, "We support the repeal of 'Don’t Ask Don’t Tell' and the implementation of policies to allow qualified men and women to serve openly regardless of sexual orientation."

This is language that the 186-member 2008 Democratic National Convention Platform Committee voted on and approved. This is language that 4,419 Democratic National Convention delegates adopted on August 25, 2008 (Trust me on this one folks, I was there). This language doesn't say we support the "legislative repeal." This language says, "We support the repeal of 'Don't Ask Don't Tell.'" Period. End of question.

This objection by the Obama Department of Justice flies in the face of a Democratic platform that was approved by both Clinton delegates as well as Obama delegates. By filing an objection to this judicial ruling, the Obama Administration places itself squarely on the wrong side of this important GLBT issue.

And that's just the way it is.