Obama Clarifies Process for Repeal of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’

In a snippet of an interview to be published in the Philadelphia Gay News today, Barack Obama suggests he would proceed with caution in the repeal of the military’s failed ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ policy:

Obamacashman“I want to make sure that when we revert ‘don’t ask, don’t tell,’ it’s gone through a process and we’ve built a consensus or at least a clarity of what my expectations are so that it works. My first obligation as the president is to make sure that I keep the American people safe and that our military is functioning effectively…Although I have consistently said I would repeal ‘don’t ask, don’t tell,’ I believe that the way to do it is make sure that we are working through a process, getting the Joint Chiefs of Staff clear in terms of what our priorities are going to be.”

I’ll be interested in seeing the rest of the interview. UPDATE: Here it is.

You may have missed…
Army to Pay Six-Figure Retention Bonus to (Straight) Linguists [tr]
Congress Holds Hearings on ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ [tr]


  1. says

    Why am I not surprised with Obama’s distancing of himself from his support for LGBTQ equality? This is what Clinton did, too, in 1992: promise us the moon with his trolling for our votes, and then leaving us with DOMA and DADT.

    I don’t trust Obama or the Democrats to stay true to their promises to repeal DADT, DOMA, and to pass ENDA and other legislation in our interests.

    If the Democrats really supported us — rather than merely trolled for our votes — then why hasn’t the Democratic Congress in the last two years in which they have been in power passed ENDA and the repeal of DADT and DOMA? The Democrats in Congress don’t need the Presidency in order to do their job trying to protect us — as they SAY they want to do. So what if Bush used the veto: at least the Dems would have drawn the line in the sand and done their job.

    The Democratic two-step already is in place, and once again — as with Bill Clinton — we will be betrayed. That’s just the Democratic way.

    Come out of the closet and vote Green which offers real change, real reform.

  2. soulbrotha says

    Oh HOG please! You troll this blog and make no comments on any other post except ones about Obama and then swoop in to try and trash him. We know you are Rethuglican. We don’t need to hear it anymore.

  3. Jason says

    That is why I don’t get gays blindly voting for this empty suit. Vote for Obama and he will make all kinds of promises and will deliver none but in the end will still be a Marxist. Or, vote for McCain and he will promise nothing deliver nothing to the GLBT community but will do better things for our economy and isn’t a socialist or an empty suit. The result is the same for GLBT issues the only difference is one lied.

  4. Honest says

    I have to agree with HOGB. This is the beginning of the Democratic back-peddling. We fell for this during the Bill Clinton run for Presidency. Didn’t we learn anything? Didn’t gays learn that the Democratic party is not our friends? As gays, are we so desperate for acceptance that we will tolerate a party that lies to our face, makes empty campaign promises that they betray the moment they get what they want?

    Democrats controlled Congress when Clinton came to office. If they were the friends they claimed, we would have ENDA and would not have laws such as DOMA (which a Democratic President advocated). Domocrats have controlled Congress for the past two years, yet DADT and DOMA still stand.

    It’s a pity that too many gays fall for the lies of the intolerant liberal left that will only use gays to get to power and discard us once they are there. WAKE UP – the Democrats will promise anything for our votes, but they will not deliver anything to us if they win.

  5. Mike says

    It’s all about the Supreme Court and political realities. Clinton didn’t betray us with DOMA and DADT… his hand was forced by the congress on DADT… if he would have issued the executive order, they were going to do an end run around him and completely ban gays from the military. He knew DODT was ridiculous and wouldn’t stand the test of time – he was president, not the king…there are limits to presidential power. Regarding DOMA – this was passed at the time where there was an anti-gay hysteria in the country. Clinton supported DOMA to keep a Federal Constitutional amendment from being passed. If the federal constitution would have been amended, we would have been put back generations instead of decades. Everyone knows that DOMA “should be” unconstitutional, which is why it is important NOT to put right wing nuts on the Supreme Court since the Supreme Court has the final say. No way am I going to let McCain have that decision. If the Supreme Court is stacked against us at this juncture we will be screwed for a generation. Obama will do right by us, just as the Clintons have. It is great to be idealistic, but when the rubber meets the road you have to be pragmatic. The republicans would love to fracture the Obama vote by getting liberals to vote Green, etc. You may say you want to vote your conscience, but have you every heard the saying “Cut off your nose to spite your face…?” We have to be smarter and vote strategically. As the Rolling Stones wrote… you can’t always get what you want… but if you try sometimes, you just might find, you get what you need!

  6. says

    I don’t see how anyone can be surprised at this. How naive can you be? Obama hates gay people, except as creatures with votes to get him into power, when he can then back-pedal and go back on his word to us.

    Do not be fooled. Obama like Clinton would beg for our votes on Monday and send us to the ovens on Tuesday.

    I’ll vote for him anyway, of course.

  7. gr8guyca says

    I feel that Obama’s heart is in the right place, but, at the moment, there are larger political considerations.

    He must be careful that he doesn’t start a culture war on gay rights during the election. First of all, it inflames the evangelicals and will rally them against him. They have already been energized by Palin. He doesn’t want to get them even more motivated to oppose him. Secondly, it could distract from his core message – economy, jobs, taxes, health care and war. Any day that he isn’t on message is a victory for McCain.

    And to those who would vote for the Green Party, didn’t you learn anything from Bush-Gore? Your vote matters and you must admit that McCain will never do anything to help the gay cause.
    If you recall, he was the one who didn’t want to wear a sweater because it made him look “too gay.”

  8. says

    I knew they’d be here.

    Obama is both doing the politically savvy thing with DADT to avoid what happened to Clinton in 1993 AND distancing himself from the Bush executive fiat by signing statement.

    Of course he’s not going to spend all his political capital on gays right off the bat. There are other things to do (though I know the LCRs and right-wing trolls think we only care about gay issues) — the economy, the war… But with a (fingers crossed) Dem Congress and White House gay rights will come too.

  9. 24play says

    Hate-filled Obsessive gay Bore keeps imploring us all to “VOTE GREEN!” But the tired old queen doesn’t even know who the Greens’ nominee for president is this year.

  10. Wes says

    He’s just trying to soften the blow for the social conservatives. He said he will repeal DADT, he has spoken about the importance of respecting the dignity of gay people many times, even in his acceptance speech. I think he wants to repeal DADT like he says, he’s just trying to make it sound not so harsh for conservatives. He’s a politician and he has to maintain as wide of an appeal as possible, but at the end of the day he is one of the most liberal senators and thats not necessarily a bad thing for us.

  11. says

    In this same interview “Obama also declined to commit to have his attorney general support a lawsuit against the Defense of Marriage Act, which denies federal recognition of same-sex marriages and gives states the right to refuse to recognize such marriages. Obama said he’s not sure the 1996 law would be overturned by the courts and he prefers a legislative solution.”

    Add to this the facts that: (1) Obama breached his promise to use public finacing of his general election campaign; (2) Obama and the Dems now support off-shore drilling to appease big oil and to hell with the environment; and (3) Obama reversed his position to vote for warrantless wiretaps.

    If Obama does not believe LGBTQ rights are a priority, then when will he and the Democratic Congress act? During Obama’s first term? Or would that not be politically expedient since he presumably will be running for a second term from day one?

  12. 24play says

    OR… you could look up from all your collected Obama trivia for just a moment and take 6 seconds to research who the Green Party’s presidential nominee really is.

    It ain’t Nader, princess.

  13. Gianpiero says

    I believe Obama is making an advance move with respect his first 100 days in office. Remember that in 1993, the Republicans (and even Democratic opponents) of Bill Clinton blindsided him in his very first week in office by highlighting his campaign promise to end the ban. The result was a media distraction, no little damage to Clinton at a very crucial time and the genesis of what would emerge, six months later, as the disastrous DADT. (I continue to think Clinton should have stood up and to his opponents at the time, but that’s another story). By saying he wants to follow a process, I believe Obama is trying to prevent a similar thing happening in the early days of his presidency, when other national issues need to be at the forefront. I still believe the ban will end early in his term. I have no hope at all of it going away under McCain.

  14. Matt says

    I’m not at all surprised that the PGN would take a negative spin on this. They’ve got an odd brand of politicking. Nevertheless, I’ll probably pick one up today to read the full article. It’s the only Gay News in town…

    Matt (from Philly)

  15. the queen says

    good morning my dahlings and crisp gracious hello to miss derrick….

    well my dahlings, i wouldn’t hold my breath on this one… as some people here have pointed out obama hasn’t exactly been on top (pardon the pun) of the gay issues except to talk of equality for all including gay people in his speeches… but we want particulars don’t we? and he doesn’t believe in gay marriage, a cause dear to many a fagit’s heart here (i just cannot bring myself to say glbt — it reminds me too much of a blt which i prefer on white toast, double bacon if you please) so what’s the story with obama and the gay issues? no mention of anything particular as far as i know. so jason and hogb do have a point. i remain an indepedent in this race and have yet to make up my mind for whom i will vote… we shall see, au revoir dahlings…

  16. Derrick from Philly says

    Iraq, Afganistan and maybe Iran.

    Gay military folks must be heroes: to fight for a country that doesn’t want to intergrate them into the armed forces…hmmm…sounds familiar.

  17. noah says

    Let’s think this through before getting upset: Anything Obama says will be used as wedge issue. He has to be cautious or the Republicans will use it against him. Do you want a repeat of 2004 when the Republicans made gay marriage a central rallying cry to get out the homophobic vote? Look at how the Rethugs made an issue of “lipstick on a pig.” He has to be cautious about whatever he says. Imagine if the headline that hit the newspapers was “Obama to force end of DADT”!

  18. RP says

    I don’t mean to veer off topic, but I can’t believe someone thinks McCain would do a better job on the economy. McCain himself said he doesn’t really have a grasp on the economy, and then on Monday as the financial institutes began to PLUMMET McCain said, “The fundamentals of our economy are still strong.” McCain is the man that doesn’t really know what defines the rich but thinks it begins at around “5 million dollars” of wealth (can you imagine the embarrassment of only having 2 or 3 million… you must be poor). I know it’s a sensationalist news bite too, but not knowing how many houses you own is SO COMPLETELY OUT OF TOUCH with America ESPECIALLY WHEN THE HOUSING MARKET COLLAPSE IS WHAT CAUSED THE FINANCIAL TROUBLE WE ARE IN KNOW. :::must remind myself to breathe… breathe::: It just astounds me that anyone can still believe that McCain would do anything to help the economy. The man voted with Bush over 90% percent of the time… what policies do you think helped get us here? Not to mention the man’s campaign is filled to the bloody rafters with lobbyist. Do you really think he has the middle class interest in mind when those are his decision makers????
    And one last thing in my long winded rant… When Carly Fiorina says that McCain couldn’t even handle running HP, that is serious cause for alarm when considering trusting him with the economy of the USA.
    But I digress. :)

  19. says

    To be fair, he probably wouldn’t send us to the overns. But I doubt he’d do much to stop it happening. He’d wave goodbye to us at the train station. Or at least send an assistant to read a consolation message.

  20. Las Vegas says

    I went to see Obama speak yesterday at Cashman just to have a chance to say someday “I saw him”. You know what has really interested me is the fact that the gay community, once again, is going to take a stance once again that a half a cookie is better than no cookie.

    The politics of the Democratic party has been identity politics of essentially pigeon holing individual groups and calling them victims.

    The African American and Latino political machines have basically made BOTH parties so completly scared that they cater and court them as much as possible. What about the gays.

    Well we now they platform of the Republicans is less than gay positive. While the green party is an alternative it is more of a protest vote that has as much clout as writing a ballot in crayon.

    The Democrats know this and all they have to do is keep you in fear of a Republican victory and you’ll votre however they want. You can rationalize all you want about 100 days theory’s, appealing to a moderate crowd, or any of the other 100 excuses I’ve heard from well meaning gay politicos. What it really boils down to is that the gay community (minus the LCRs) does not have the political clout or the resources to be a serious player.

    I’ve yet to see any leadership from the GLBTQ community stand up to the DNC and tell them half a cookie is not enough because they can’t back it up. What wold they use as a threat? We won’t vote for you? If Sharpton or Jackson threaten something it happens. Next thing you know there are a thousand African Americans marching down the street. They gay leaders are lucky if they get a hundred or two.

    So sit on your blogs and rail all you want. Make excuses for backpedaling Democrats and Obama who promises change but as the campaign goes on changes his positions to more of the Democrat same rhetoric from 4 years ago. Just delivered more dynamically this time from a better speaker.

    Democrats will lose the White House, retain the House, maybe pick up a couple of Senate seats, and then proceed to do nothing for another 4 years but blame the President who doesn’t make laws any way. No one wants to ask the hard questions of Obama for fear he might lose if they do (or be called a racist for asking).

    Moral victories are not victories except in the minds of those who lost.

  21. Ricky says

    It is reasons like this that I will not be voting for Obama in November.

    I will be voting for candidates and parties that fully support my full civil and equal rights as a gay citizen of the United States.

  22. Dback says

    Well I remember the first year of Bill Clinton’s presidency, when he was getting used like a punching bag by the Republicans and the media on a variety of issues, including “DADT,” and was rewarded/punished for his efforts by the ’94 midterms that awarded the Republicans Congress for the next 12 years. Can you blame the Dems for trying to proceed very, very cautiously this time around? They want to lock up the White House race and regain control of Congress before floating any legislation that Middle America is going to revolt over. Some may call this cowardly, but it also implies a certain prudence.

    People are entitled to vote for whomever they like, but no Green will ever convince me that a huge chunk of the past 8 years’ disasters lie at their feet. If the Greens think they’ve made a bunch of friends that’ll vote for them this election, I’ve got an Alaskan bridge to sell them.

  23. Derrick from Philly says


    sometimes you make sense, but the above statement is plain foolishness. No other presidential nominee (Republican or Democrat or whatever) has spent as much time trying to win the support of gay communities than Barack Obama. He even sends his wife to speak to gay groups. When is Miss Cindy going to speak to a gay group? Well, she be might do ok at Wigstock–if they still did it every year.

    And LAS VEGAS, blacks and Latinos have complained for years that the Democratic Party takes their votes for granted. But the right-wing of the Republican Party continues to offend Latinos, and almost the entire Republican Party tells blacks, “we don’t need your votes.” I’m exaggeratin’ a little, but not much.

  24. MAJeff says

    Obama is right that challenging DOMA in the Federal courts right now would be an unwise move. Anyone who thinks it would be a good idea is asking for another Hardwick-type decision. That legislation is going to be best attacked at the legislative level. There isn’t a chance in hell that the Federal Courts, and especially the Supreme Court, will strike it down, no chance at all.

  25. Derrick from Philly says

    “I will be voting for candidates and parties that fully support my full civil and equal rights as a gay citizen of the United States.”

    Well, RICKY, I guess you’ll be voting for the Communists…but don’t trust them either.

  26. says

    Both candidates were invited to talk to PGN. McCain refused, surprise, surprise. But somehow that’s better than Obama actually articulating his positions to the gay press?

    Read the interview. Obama doesn’t want to make the same mistake Clinton did, the one that gave us DADT. He doesn’t believe “attaching a signing order to a military appropriations bill” is the way to do it. Being sensibly cautious and working towards consensus is hardly the same as backpedaling. It’s smart politics.

    As for the Democrat-bashers: No, they’re not perfect, but you reveal your trolldom when you go after them but not the far-worse Republicans. Continually slamming Obama but not McCain while pretending to be progressive is simply laughable, but I suspect it will continue thru Nov, when you’ll all scoot back into your troll closets under the Republican bridge.

  27. Charles says

    “The African American and Latino political machines have basically made BOTH parties so completly scared that they cater and court them as much as possible. What about the gays.”

    News Flash, Einstein: Gays can be Af-Am and Latino as well. The most reliable people that vote on our side in Congress are the Congressional Black Caucus. Maybe is gays and lesbians would get it together and create their own political machine and stop whining about the other groups that have succeeded, this wouldn’t be an issue

  28. Jimmyboyo says


    Hit the nail on the head. this is not him going back on repealing DADT, this is a play for conservative votes (trying to beat mcshame) so he is wording it in the whole ‘process” thing involving the joints chief of staffs so as to calm their fears.

    Its all good, don’t worry.

  29. AdamN says

    Politics is about pragmatism and compromise. The Right has been galvanized over Princess Evangelical Mooseburgers, so of course Obama is going to tread carefully over this territory. We are the rights favorite “get out the vote” political tool after all. That doesn’t mean Obama doesn’t support the gay community, it just means he’s a wise politician, as he should be.
    But all you LCR trolls really know this already anyhow. You’re just trying to convince others into not voting against their own interests. Hopefully, most people reading here are not as dim and morally vacant as you are.

  30. says

    It’s hilarious that people who swore a couple of months ago that Hillary Clinton was the devil because her husband backpedaled on gay rights in the 1990s are so blatant in their hypocrasy as they excuse their hero for doing the same thing, only now.

    What frightens me about Obama and gay issues is that he seems to agree with Howard Dean that it is his job to mediate between gays and those who seek to oppress us. Neither is willing to be a leader on issues of our equality: they see themseleves as referees.
    I do not think someone whose goal is to get bigots and their victims to sit down at a table together and compromise can be trusted. Obama should stop acting like their points of view deserve respect and use his leadership to make those points of view less

  31. Las Vegas says


    You illustrate exactly what I am talking about and somewhat so does Ernie. Oh look, Obama sent the wife to speak to gay groups. Did she ever go speak to gay groups when he has running for the Senate…did he? I understand things are a little different in a National election than a state but what has he done for gays in the Senate or even done back in his home state?

    Ernie would have everyone believe that if you question the Democratic Party or their candidate you MUST be rooting the opponent and therefore a “troll”. Perhaps some people don’t feel like it’s ok to just hold your nose and pull the Obama trigger because there’s nothing better an you’re stuck.

    If you read Charles’ comment he’s actullay saying what I said but in a slightly more bitchy and rude way. Until the gays are facing some sort of huge battle (like a COnstitutional ban on gay marriage) there seems to be no urgency across the community. Look at the battle in CA..it was reported yesterday that they are falling behind in fund raising against the other side. So, even in CA, where there are more gays and allies per square foot than any other state can’t get the community motivated.

    If I thought the outcome of a McCain/Palin presidency would be an energized, motivated, and united GLBTQ community I’d vote for them in a second because it’s the kick in the ass some people really need. I thought this might have happened 4 years ago but all I’ve heard is whining and bitching with little action. On the flip side if I think 4 years of Obama means watered down gay support to satisfy some other quadrant of Obama’s voting bloc then I say no thank you. Because the motivation of the GLBTQ community to act will be the same as it has been for the past 16 years.

    The HRC and the powers that think they are the movers and shakers of the universe will be happy to be handed half a cookie and allowed to maybe attend a state dinner or two with the Obamas. Maybe Obama will tell Michele to even go over and talk to them since that seems to be all it takes for some of you.

  32. says

    Some of you people don’t even read, so I have little interest in reading you.

    LV, darling, what Ernie (and others) have suggested is that when people ONLY criticize Obama’s positions and fail to notice the FAR WORSE positions of his opponents, you give away your home addresses under the bridge.

    Most of us are far from politically naive. We remember Clinton and what happened to him in January ’93.

    Frankly, I’m not surprised Obama doesn’t want the AG to bring a suit against DOMA. For that he should wait till a few Scalia-Thomas clones leave the Supreme Court and he appoints reasonable people. That will take some time. Meanwhile, the legislative route might work better, especially if people wake up and smell the fundamentals of Republican ineptitude and sweep both houses of Congress free of as many bigots as possible.

    And Landon: I suspect many of the people you saw criticizing Hillary are not the ones now defending Obama, but the ones criticizing Obama. They’re not changing their positions and neither are we. I for one defended Clinton from the absurd claims that he “invented” or “advocated for” DOMA and DADT. Both were foisted upon him for political reasons.

  33. Foochy says

    Given that many of the gays and lesbians sacked from the Armed Forces were in positions of great technical need — Arab linguists especially — DADT is an unsupportable policy because it is costing both the time and money spent on training and lives lost (US and foreign) because people are not doing their jobs.

    The arguments being used to support DADT are just as ridiculous as the arguments first used to bar people of color from serving in the US Armed Forces and then later to continue the legacy of segregation within our fighting troops.** In addition, it is the height of irony that law-abiding gays and lesbians should be cast aside for “legally challenged” heterosexuals — especially since these same heterosexuals who needed special dispensation to become soldiers now make for 70% of criminal activity occurring to civilians and other soldiers.

    But ending this horrid policy needs to be done correctly — the only reason why Truman was able to desegregate the Armed Forces so rapidly was because there was a war going on, which necessitated access to more soldiers. If that (hopefully) is not the situation Obama would be inheriting if he is elected president, then he is forced to repeal DADT through the kabuki theater (Seven Brides for Seven Brothers musical?) of the neo-con culture wars. Although the Armed Forces has already laid the groundwork to allow US citizens of all stripes to serve their country, there are people who would gladly seek to fight the logical conclusion of extensive diversity training on conservative religious grounds because they need to reinforce the monolithic myth of effete gay and butch lesbian deviants/predators.

    DADT should not have happened at all, but it did; the same group of social thugs which brought it about are still around and they still have some fight left. Despite the researched fact that DADT has had a deleterious effect upon the Armed Forces, it will not stop their Holy Crusade upon those who choose not to subscribe to their narrow opinions. Which is why it is crucial to be reminded of the words of FDR should Obama be elected to the presidency: “You’ve elected me — now you have to keep me to my word.”

    ** As further comparison, people of African descent have fought proudly in every war in which the US has participated — in fact, the first man to die in the cause of freedom against the British was black (Crispus Attucks). However, it was only when the Armed Forces realized that imposing the social mores of US society upon fighting forces was an inherent detriment, changes were made — although it did take two world wars and two Asian conflicts to make the Armed Forces the most truly diverse “working group” in the nation.

  34. Alan says

    Wow… big mistake: I read all the comments before reading the interview. I would have guessed that he was hinting at some anti-gay positions or backpedaling.

    There is none.

    He says he will work to repeal DADT when (not if) “we’ve built a consensus or at least a clarity of that, of what my expectations are, so that it works.”

    And regarding DOMA, “[W]e need to bring it to a close and my preference would be to work through a legislative solution. I would also point out that if it’s going before this court, I’m not sure what chances it would have to be overturned.”

    I don’t read any backpedaling or waffling in either of these, just pragmatism, diplomacy, and priorities. Oh, and honesty, which is quite refreshing. With the mess this man’s going to inherit, his first priorities better be the economy and Iraq.

    And finally, on questioning leaders regarding LGBT human rights violations: “That [human rights based on sexual orientation]… has to be part and parcel of any conversations we have about human rights.”

  35. GBM says

    I agree Alan, these insta-responses are predictable but still troubling. In the full context of the interview, Obama says he doesnt agree with overtunring DADT via “attaching a signing order to a military appropriations bill,” a method employed by Bush to change military policy. Instead, he wants to overturn it via established protocol.

    How is this back-pedalling??

    Andy should make the context of the response much clearer and not just give a separate link to the post because without context one could think (as many here apparently have) that he is backing off of the DADT issue altogether, which is not the case.

Leave A Reply