Barack Obama | Dan Choi | Don't Ask, Don't Tell | Military | News | Robert Gibbs

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President Won't Intervene to Stop Discharges of Gay Soldiers

Amid mounting calls from think tanks, former military leaders, and current servicemembers to end the military's failed "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy by executive order, White House Press Secretary said today that President Obama will not intervene.

Dadt Said Gibbs: "To get fundamental reform in this instance requires a legislative vehicle. The president made a promise to change this policy; he will work with the Joints Chiefs of Staff, the administration and with Congress to ensure that we have a policy that works for our national interests...There have been discussions about the best way to move forward, and the only sustainable way to do that is through -- sustainable and durable way -- is through legislation, which the president has promised and has continued to work for."

Yesterday, the Palm Center released the results of a study along with a blueprint that would allow the President to end the failed military gay ban via executive order. Lt. Dan Choi, a skilled Arabic linguist and the first gay soldier fired under Obama, published an open letter to the President and Congress pleading that the military not discharge him.

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  1. a.k.a. - "be good, be quiet, and be-have. don't bother us and we'll get back to you."

    Posted by: brian | May 12, 2009 6:41:07 PM


  2. Of course that lying piece of shit won't take steps to protect LGBT people! He never had any intention of doing so. Thanks, Barack, for selling us down the river.

    Posted by: Bob | May 12, 2009 6:48:05 PM


  3. More than the continuing tolerance of discrimination by the president and "our" government and fellow "citizens" I'm just so sick of my country being the world capital of Stupid...

    Posted by: mcquaidLA | May 12, 2009 6:53:32 PM


  4. For all of the foot dragging, the reticence about talking about this in the first place, etc....why I do keep seeing the White House refer to doing something about this as "change"? When I see the word "change", my first thought is "compromise". Don't Ask Don't Tell was supposed to be a compromise...and look how well that has turned out.

    My hopes for repealing this is fading by the day.

    Posted by: Terry | May 12, 2009 6:58:41 PM


  5. So much for all the fags who marched on Washington with Dr. King. RIP Bayard Rustin.

    Posted by: J.P. | May 12, 2009 7:02:56 PM


  6. Gays and lesbains shouldn't be in the military to begin with. why should we fight these greedy genocidal wars?

    NO BLOOD FOR OIL -- OR ANYTHING ELSE!!!!

    Posted by: David Ehrenstein | May 12, 2009 7:17:24 PM


  7. If the California Supreme Court upholds Prop 8 and there is no movement on DADT and/or DOMA in the Congress by that time, then I truly believe we should be celebrating Pride/Stonewall with a march on Washington 1,000,0000+ strong to show we mean business. Equal protection under the Constitution is no laughing matter and as tax paying citizens I think it's high time we demand our civil liberties be afforded to us...not just some of them, but ALL OF THEM!

    Posted by: Keith | May 12, 2009 7:18:28 PM


  8. That cowardly ass motherfucker ain't gonna do shit for us, DADT or DOMA. Time to schedule that huge ass march!

    Posted by: Jerey | May 12, 2009 7:20:17 PM


  9. We have to write to our congress critters to get HR 1283 co-sponsored. Lets get it from 140 to 175 co-sponsors. Even try to get Mary Bono Mack and Mark Kirk to co-sponsor it.

    I wrote my letter to Joe Baca of California, if your congress person is not on the list write a letter today.

    President Obama wants it done legislatively so his ass would not be beaten up like President Clinton if he did this by executive order. So do what the President asks, write and call your congress critter, the bill should have broad support so it could pass before the session ends.

    Posted by: Matt from California | May 12, 2009 7:28:29 PM


  10. The White House is right. Like it or not, Don't Ask, Don't Tell is mandated by law. Congress took it out of the president's sole discretion to allow openly gay men and women to serve when it passed DADT and Bill Clinton signed it. Obama, who swore to uphold the laws of the land, cannot now refuse to adhere to the law. The only way gays can legally serve in the military openly is by getting Congress to allow it. Obama has no authority to unilaterally disregard a law.

    Posted by: Javier | May 12, 2009 7:50:11 PM


  11. Matt and Javier, if you could put down the Kool Aid a minute, what part of the following November 2007 explict promise from Obama don't you get?

    “As President, I will work with Congress and place the weight of my administration behind enactment of the Military Readiness Enhancement Act, which will make nondiscrimination the official policy of the U.S. military. I will task the Defense Department and the senior command structure in every branch of the armed forces with developing an action plan for the implementation of a full repeal of don’t ask, don’t tell. And I will direct my Secretaries of Defense and Homeland Security to develop procedures for taking re-accession requests from those qualified service members who were separated from the armed forces under Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell and still want to serve their country. The eradication of this policy will require more than just eliminating one statute. It will require the implementation of anti-harassment policies and protocols for dealing with abusive or discriminatory behavior as we transition our armed forces away from a policy of discrimination. The military must be our active partners in developing those policies and protocols. THAT WORK SHOULD HAVE STARTED LONG AGO. IT WILL START WHEN I TAKE OFFICE. America is ready to get rid of the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy. All that is required is leadership.”

    "IT WILL START WHEN I TAKE OFFICE."

    "IT WILL START WHEN I TAKE OFFICE."

    "IT WILL START WHEN I TAKE OFFICE."

    "IT WILL START WHEN I TAKE OFFICE."

    "IT WILL START WHEN I TAKE OFFICE."

    "IT WILL START WHEN I TAKE OFFICE."

    "IT WILL START WHEN I TAKE OFFICE."

    "IT WILL START WHEN I TAKE OFFICE."

    "IT WILL START WHEN I TAKE OFFICE."

    "IT WILL START WHEN I TAKE OFFICE."

    "IT WILL START WHEN I TAKE OFFICE."

    "IT WILL START WHEN I TAKE OFFICE."

    "IT WILL START WHEN I TAKE OFFICE."

    Posted by: Michael @ LeonardMatlovich.com | May 12, 2009 7:53:18 PM


  12. Michael I agree with you, but unfortunately we have to play with the president's rules of the game even though he is waffling with the LGBT community, the President wants to keep his 70% approval ratings and he just is unfortunately scared to share his political capital on us.

    Posted by: Matt from California | May 12, 2009 8:12:41 PM


  13. Any gay person who is asked about whether they approve of the president needs to give a big, fat NO. When he starts to see his approval rating go down because of this issue, then maybe he'll take us seriously. I sent an email to the White House the other day informing President Obama that if this policy is not completely repealed by Election Day 2010, I would not be voting for any of the democrats, and I would not be voting for him in 2012. And I told him I meant that day, and not a day later. If he gets the policy repealed on November 15, 2010, he doesn't get my vote in 2012. I'm not going to be told "it's an election year" anymore either. I think all of us should start sending him similar messages.

    Posted by: John K. | May 12, 2009 8:19:56 PM


  14. this is the same run-around we got from bill clinton and we know how well that turned out. barack is both the commander-in-chief and the chief executive. he could end the policy tonight..IF he wanted to.
    but then, he doesn't think we should have equal marriage rights either because he's a 'christian'. maybe if we are all nice little homos and just keep giving these guys our votes we can have some semblance of equality in another...oh.. fifty years or so. keep hope alive, suckers !

    Posted by: elpolacko | May 12, 2009 8:21:48 PM


  15. So much for change we can believe in!

    Posted by: Lars | May 12, 2009 8:22:48 PM


  16. You have to be incredibly naive to have believed there would be any movement on DADT or DOMA in Washington this year.

    This year's federal successes are going to be hate crimes, ENDA (which is huge, far more important than a DADT repeal or passage of hate crimes legislation), the finalization of the repeal of the HIV immigration ban, and, possibly, some improvement in benefits for federal employees with same sex partners.

    Visible movement on DADT will begin next year, and a Congressional attempt to repeal Section 2 of DOMA (which would allow federal recognition of state-recognized same-sex marriages) MIGHT get action in committee in 2010, but 2011, after the midterm elections, is much more likely.

    Posted by: 24play | May 12, 2009 8:23:16 PM


  17. As a One Issue Gay, I know that I'll be putting my X in the box for Palin in '12. Why be politically savvy when I could undermine myself and the rest of America in a big show of This One Issue Only Now Please.

    Posted by: One Issue Gay | May 12, 2009 8:31:37 PM


  18. ... on second thought, make that one hundred and fifty years. we don't want to seem to be too impatient or pushy. after all, a politician's popularity rating is WAY more important than our silly little civil rights. just be sure to pay your taxes on time !

    Posted by: el polacko | May 12, 2009 8:36:39 PM


  19. He should put a moratorium on discharging gays & lesbians until such time the legislature has decided. If the legislature keeps DADT, then they would be discharged; but right now he could nip it, nip it in the bud. Now, not to equalize the two, but at different levels, the death penalty has been halted or placed on a moritorium for various reasons, why can't this happen in the armed forces regarding discharges of gays & lebians? I'm starting to feel that the gay community was taken by Barack Obama (however, he is/was 100 times better than the alternate choice and his predecessor).

    Posted by: CB | May 12, 2009 8:42:13 PM


  20. So many Hillary voters deeply disappointed in Obama!

    Posted by: 24play | May 12, 2009 8:50:21 PM


  21. Barack Obama -- BIGOT. On gay issues, we might as well have had John McCain. Fuck him. Another goddamn politician sells us out.

    Fuck Barack Obigot. He'll never get my vote again.

    Posted by: Roscoe | May 12, 2009 8:50:32 PM


  22. I expected to see the usual venom when I clicked on the comments, and of course I wasn't disappointed. What I find interesting though, is the NYT opinion piece that Andy buried in the previous post that got not one response. Go back and read it. Here is a portion of it:

    "Among their many aspirations for his presidency, Barack Obama’s admirers nurse a persistent hope that he might be able to end the culture wars. And by end, they generally mean win. The real hope is a final victory for cultural liberalism, and social conservatism’s permanent eclipse.

    "These hopes are overstated, but not necessarily irrational. Four months in, the Obama administration does seem to have a plausible strategy for turning the “social issues” to liberalism’s advantage. The outline is simple: Engage on abortion, and punt on gay rights.

    "The punting has been obvious. On the campaign trail, Obama promised to repeal the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy. He still intends to — but not yet, not yet. He said he supported federal recognition for civil unions. His administration has ignored the issue. He backed repealing the Defense of Marriage Act. Don’t expect that to come up for a vote any time soon.


    "Both strategies make political sense. Gay-rights activists are irritated with Obama, but time is on their side. Gay marriage is marching through liberal states (last week, Maine; soon, New York), and public opinion, steadily tilting in its direction, seems to be tilting faster in the last six months. On a national level, the issue still cuts against liberalism — but less so with every passing day.

    **"By pushing gay-rights debates off until later in his presidency, Obama is almost certainly making them easier to win."**

    This strategy seems to make sense to me, even though it would take more time to accomplish the goal. How can any of you be sure that this is not his plan?

    Posted by: Q | May 12, 2009 9:11:34 PM


  23. I'm willing to give Obama the benefit of the doubt, but at first glance this is very disappointing.

    Posted by: J. J. | May 12, 2009 9:41:23 PM


  24. This "strategy" makes sense for a coward, not a leader.

    Why can't we have a leader like the Spanish have with Zapatero? He lead the nation to full equality, no ifs or buts.

    He also got re-elected.

    And no, the hyper-catholic Spaniards aren't less homophobic than the people of the USA.

    Obama won't even stop firings due to sexual orientation. What a loser.

    Posted by: galore | May 12, 2009 9:44:43 PM


  25. Obama has shown himself to be very politically saavy...not just in getting elected, but in rope-a-doping opponents and critics and in aiming for legislative change on a rational time table. I'm not bothered by the delay on don't ask don't tell. Pushing through a presidential moratorium tables the issue...not doing so keeps it on the agenda and in the forefront of ongoing policy debate. If the issue is seen as "solved" but remains subject to the whim of the executive, the DADT will be more likely to remain on the books instead of being outright repealed and protections will only last as long as he's in the White House. I'm for solving the problem, not just slapping a band-aid on it. If there's no movement over the next year then I think much of the above criticism will more valid.

    Posted by: kj | May 12, 2009 9:45:05 PM


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