Barack Obama | Military | News | Robert Gates | Robert Gibbs

Defense Secretary Gates: Military Gay Ban Repeal 'Down the Road'


On FOX News Sunday, Chris Wallace asked Defense Secretary Robert Gates about White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs' statement earlier this year that "yes," Obama planned to repeal the military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy.

Said Gates: "[DADT] continues to be the law, and any change in the policy would require a change in the law. We will follow the law whatever it is. That dialogue, though, has really not progressed very far at this point in the administration. I think the president and I feel like we've got a lot on our plates right now and let's push that one down the road a little bit."

Watch it, AFTER THE JUMP...

Feed This post's comment feed


  1. "push that one down the road a little bit"

    Once again our issues of equality are put on the back burner - is that the same as being thrown under the bus?

    Change? Sounds like the same old story to me.

    Posted by: Wayne | Mar 29, 2009 3:43:05 PM

  2. Apparently the only change we can count on from this administration is that they seem to have no problem lying to our faces. At least the repugnicans are up front about their homophobia. The only thing Obama has spoken the truth about on GLBT issues is that he opposes marriage equality. In spite of stated support for ENDA and expanded hate crimes protections, repealing DADT and DOMA, we get spin, positioning and delay. This is what he calls "fierce" support for GLBT rights? With friends like these....

    Posted by: Gary | Mar 29, 2009 4:25:01 PM

  3. Thank you Gary.

    Posted by: FJ | Mar 29, 2009 4:57:34 PM

  4. Give it time. If it's not reversed in Obama's four years, however, (with the passage of federal workplace antidiscrimination legislation and a hate crimes bill that includes sexual orientaion and gender identity) I'm never voting for another democrat again. Third party all the way! Get in on the ground floor as the republican party continues to rally the tribalist minority with its death groans.

    I read that Mike Wallace punches himself in the groin as hard as he can everytime he sees fox news sunday...which isn't all that often.

    Posted by: TANK | Mar 29, 2009 5:01:12 PM

  5. Hardly surprising. Obama is a consumate politician. He is not about to get entangled in this politically costly social issue any time soon. I long ago predicted that DADT will be addressed in the third year of Obama's second term, assuming he gets re-elected.

    He is not about to repeat the bumbling early mistakes of B. Clinton, as much as we may wish otherwise. Is repealing DADT the right and moral thing to do? Of course, but it is too politically sensitive--with too much downside risk--for a President already dealing with unpopular wars on two fronts and an economy in tatters.

    Political reality will always trump moral desirability in the eyes of politicians and their advisors.

    Posted by: rudy | Mar 29, 2009 5:05:42 PM

  6. Why are Americans so stupid that changing this policy can be "politically sensitive"?

    Sure, no problem. Let's go ahead wasting millions of dollars a year to kick qualified people out of our military. Spend money and make the military less effective! Brilliant! Oh, and ruin some lives at the same time as a little bonus.

    Posted by: Kevinvt | Mar 29, 2009 5:20:44 PM

  7. "Politically Sensitive" or not, Obama was the one who made repeated promises to end DADT and DOMA. He made promises. He should keep them, or risked being labeled a liar. And does anyone really think that later on "down the road" Obama and the Dems will decide to take up gay rights? In a year or two there will be mid-term elections and Obama's own re-election campaign to worry about. Does anyone really think that Obama will then, right before his re-election campaign, decide it's time to live up to his promise of being a "fierce advocate for gay and lesbian Americans"?

    Posted by: Wayne | Mar 29, 2009 5:54:20 PM


    Posted by: 24play | Mar 29, 2009 6:02:26 PM

  9. Equal rights aren't for everyone.

    Posted by: paul c | Mar 29, 2009 6:02:42 PM

  10. "....let's push that one down the road a little bit...."

    Yeah, like how about November 2012 (if Obama's a one-term president) or November 2016 (if two-terms) because then they can say, "Oh gosh, darnnit, there's not enough time. The next President will take care of it, so run along now." *rolls eyes*

    Yeah, I know the economy is the Big Hot Casserole he's got in the oven, but Obama's got an army of people working for him. They can't ALL be checking on that important dish at the same time. Puhleeze!

    Posted by: Bob | Mar 29, 2009 6:12:03 PM

  11. Let's see how much things change under Obama (other than meaningless rhetoric). So far I see a continuation of corporate military-industrial complex policies. Nothing different from Bush. NOT A THING. I didn't vote of Obama (I voted Green) because I am so convinced that the GOP and the DEMS constitute our complete political class and they have ceded power to the corporate class. Let's see: Increasing our military presence in Afghanistan; not leaving Iraq; not repealing DADT; increasing tax payer money going to the wealthy --bail-outs for Goldman Sachs, rich insurance countries, etc. No CHANGE you can believe in.

    Posted by: Dan COBB | Mar 29, 2009 6:39:50 PM


    So the government will actively recruit non-citizens to become linguists and fill other positions while the LGB soldiers are being kicked out, but Obama doesn't have the time to deal with DADT? Yeah, he can hurl more soldiers at an already losing war to follow in the shrub's footsteps, now he's gonna give immigrants a fast-track to citizenship via military service while continuing to allow us to be second-class citizens unable to proudly serve our country.

    What a load of bovine excrement. I'm so glad I'm no longer a registered Democrat. I've joined a different party.

    Posted by: DR | Mar 29, 2009 6:43:22 PM

  13. What I don't get is what's so "politically sensitive" about allowing gays to serve openly in the military? In what sense is this a "politically costly social issue"? Don't something like 75% of Americans support repealing DADT? Is this really cowardice, or just laziness?

    Posted by: Matt | Mar 29, 2009 6:44:33 PM

  14. don't be too will be repealed - I mean, come on - the war in aphganistan is ramping, they'll need everyone they can get...its convientent to USE gays now.

    Posted by: Disgusted American | Mar 29, 2009 7:09:25 PM

  15. @24Play

    Because a pony and equal rights are both frivolous and only for the priviledged few, right? Or are they just for non-queers?

    Posted by: paul c | Mar 29, 2009 8:21:43 PM

  16. No, Paul Cotton. Because only total morons are jonesing for Obama to make the same exact mistake Clinton made and move aggressively on DADT before he has enough of the top military brass lined up behind him.

    Posted by: 24play | Mar 29, 2009 8:42:59 PM

  17. That would have made sense when DADT was passed, 24play, not in 2009. No more excuses.

    Posted by: TANK | Mar 29, 2009 8:56:27 PM

  18. Besides, I doubt the president is losing sleep nights worrying about whether he's fulfilling his campaign promises fast enough for the liking of people like Paul who didn't even vote for him.

    Take your complaints to the fools you did vote for, Paul.

    Posted by: 24play | Mar 29, 2009 9:01:40 PM

  19. In fact, this is an entirely politically contrived scandal from start to finish. It serves Obama to not introduce this as a self proclaimed bridge builder, and to talk out of the other side of his mouth to us about how it'll happen.

    There is literally an army of current and former top brass and politicians--former DADT supporter--who are now against DADT, and study after study after study have been published which, without any ambiguity, all indicate that it's a baseless policy supported by irrational bigotry and makes us more vulnerable by weakening our military. Now is the time, not tomorrow, not next year, not 2010 or 11. It could happen RIGHT now. It won't, and that has everything to do with political spin, not reality.

    Posted by: TANK | Mar 29, 2009 9:02:04 PM

  20. It has everything to do with how Bill Clinton made a total hash of the same situation in 1993. Obama's hands are largely tied by the political necessity of not being seen to make the exact same mistake.

    For that reason, you're not likely to see the White House move on DADT until after the midterms in 2010, which is fine with me since, of the GLBT issues facing Congress and the White House--ENDA, hate crimes legislation, DOMA, the census--it has by far the smallest impact.

    Posted by: 24play | Mar 29, 2009 9:15:37 PM

  21. "It has everything to do with how Bill Clinton made a total hash of the same situation in 1993."

    You're telling me that Obama and the democratic congress can't push through a repeal of DADT because of what Bill Clinton did over 16 years ago? Things have changed...opinions, majorities...circumstances.

    "Obama's hands are largely tied by the political necessity"

    No, he has the support he needs, and congress does, too. It's not '93 anymore. Most of DADT's crafters and supporters have reversed their opinions, and would testify against it.

    "of not being seen to make the exact same mistake."

    There's no mistake to make anymore. Most people are against it.

    "For that reason, you're not likely to see the White House move on DADT until after the midterms in 2010,"

    And there's no difference between the support that repealing DADT has right now, and what it will have in 2010. None. This is about winning over bigots that aren't needed to sustain a democratic majority in both houses.

    "which is fine with me since, of the GLBT issues facing Congress and the White House"

    You're buying into a lie spun by politicians who are trying to avoid confronting the issue. They're not going to magically tackle this after they've been reelected; instead will repeat what they're doing now. There is NO politically tactful way of reversing DADT for these people. Running a campaign doesn't stop after the midterm fact, it never stops anymore.

    "--ENDA, hate crimes legislation, DOMA, the census--it"

    We'll see about those. I doubt they'll be passed before 2010. In fact, we'll be about DADT, too.

    Posted by: TANK | Mar 29, 2009 9:30:06 PM

  22. @ MATT - I don't get it either. Clinton's brush with this was 16 years ago, and public support for the ban has collapsed since then. Clinton was also in a much weaker position, having been elected with only 43% of the vote. I understand there are still risks involved because while the people who are still opposed to gays in the military may be in the minority now, they're a very vocal minority that could cause a disproportionate amount of trouble. But 2009 is not 1993, and I wish people would stop talking about DADT as though nothing had changed in the last 16 years.

    Anyway, I'm fed up with the excuses. I thought we were supposed to be able to walk and chew gum at the same time. Besides, this isn't some frivolous or tangential issue. We're preventing qualified people from serving their country at a time of war. I've been a staunch supporter of President Obama, but if the Democrats can't bring themselves to scrap DADT now, when it's so obviously not just the right thing to do, but also the smart and, yes, even popular thing, then I have no hope left for the party and my days in it will be numbered.

    Posted by: Chris | Mar 29, 2009 9:36:49 PM

  23. The people who end up under the bus are those who don't act.

    Let's not overreact, but let's ACT.

    Don't like Gates' announcement? Say so:

    Capitol Hill Switchboard number (202) 224-3121

    White House Switchboard number (202) 456-1111 or

    Anyone can just sit around and complain, or worse, throw up his or her hands and give up. How does that get us anything? We elected Obama and gave the Democrats larger majorities in both houses of Congress. Give them some feedback, now.

    Time to step up, folks; flex your muscle, or you'll lose it. Consider it a test, a trial balloon. If Congress and the WH are flooded with responses, you might not end up under the bus after all.

    Posted by: AndyNiable | Mar 29, 2009 10:44:08 PM

  24. @24Play

    This may come as a surprise to you, but the president is responsible to ALL citizens...not just people who can prove they voted for him or who have given him money.

    His duty is to uphold the Constitution for everyone.

    After eight long years of having someone in office who thought he was above the law and who chiseled away at our rights, it's unbelievable to think that anyone would accept another president who doesn't give a shit about citizens who aren't like him and who can't help him out with the political benefits he wants for himself and his cronies.

    Posted by: paul c | Mar 29, 2009 11:33:11 PM

  25. Paul Cotton, I know the president is responsible to all citizens. But, as I said, I can't imagine he's losing sleep over disappointing a bunch of twats like you who thought McCain/Palin were the answer to your prayers. As James Baker so succinctly put it, "Fuck ’em. They didn't vote for us anyway."

    Your good friend John McCain's still a senator. If having DADT overturned immediately is suddenly such a priority for you, get on the horn and demand that McCain introduce legislation overturning the policy. Don't whine about Obama. He's keenly aware that the two most spectacular defeats of Clinton's first term were DADT and Hillarycare. Since Obama has made healthcare reform a top priority of his own first year in office, you can bet he's not going to jinx it by grandstanding on gays in the military.

    BTW, Paul, you failed to mention whether you voted for the Constitution-shredding asshole who was in the White House for the past 8 years. Bet ya did.

    Posted by: 24play | Mar 29, 2009 11:53:29 PM

  26. 1 2 3 »

Post a comment


« «Limbaugh Uses Fargo Floods to Express Anti-Gay Disgust« «