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Military Paper Backs Up Claims of Deal to Delay Repeal of 'DADT'

In early June, Jason Bellini released a much-discussed report at The Daily Beast alleging that gay groups had made a deal with Congress to delay "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" in favor of other LGBT legislation.

According to Bellini, gay leaders in Washington made a deal with leaders in the House to not push for DADT until sometime next year. "Congressional sources" told Bellini that HRC wants to focus on a federal hate crimes bill and the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) first.

The Human Rights Campaign released a statement adamantly denying the claims. Said HRC: "This story is not only an outright lie, it is recklessly irresponsible.  HRC never made such a deal and continues to work with congress and the administration on a full range of equality issues including a swift end to the military's shameful ban on gay servicemembers."

Dadt Michelangelo Signorile interviewed Aaron Belkin of the Palm Center the same day HRC released its statement, and Belkin backed up Bellini's claims. Said Belkin: "We've heard from so many offices that not only are they not doing anything but they're pro-actively lobbying against consideration of the issue. I feel very confident in saying that."

Yesterday, the Stars and Stripes, an independent news source which operates from within the U.S. Defense Dept., said this in an article regarding the status of DADT:

"An official with the House Democratic leadership said the House is committed to repealing 'don’t ask' but has agreed with civil rights groups to put new hate crime legislation and a workplace nondiscrimination bill on the legislative calendar before taking up the military issue."

Yesterday, 76 House Democrats signed a letter to Obama urging him to halt discharges of gay military personnel.

So, I guess a few questions remain: Is there a deal? Was HRC lying? And was the letter sent to Obama yesterday simply "lip service" intended to make it look like some action is being taken given the fury that has erupted between LGBT folks and the DNC over the last week?

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Comments

  1. If there are 76 Dems who signed that letter, support and thank them personally, not the Party. If there are any Republicans offering their support, do the same. We do not have to walk a party line. Thats a media game, shirts vs. skins. Let any politician who favors our civil rights know you can look past labels in return for doing what is right and just.

    Posted by: Glennmcgahee | Jun 23, 2009 7:59:12 AM


  2. Or could it be that since the SLDN had originally supported the same timeline, this is merely a cynical ploy to bring the internal bickering in our community to a boil?

    Until they actually name names (instead of "sources"), this feels more like a story planted by the administration and congressional "leadership" meant to distract.

    Posted by: Mike in Houston | Jun 23, 2009 8:06:14 AM


  3. Perhaps Andy T. will do the right thing & post the names of the Congress members. Meantime, this released report does undercut the "outrage" doesn't it.

    Posted by: hadassah weinreb | Jun 23, 2009 8:09:44 AM


  4. This story doesn't make any sense. DADT is hardly a political hot potato. The general consensus from just about everyone (except for some fringe wingnuts) is repeal it. I don't understand unless this is some sort of bizarre plot to distract everyone from concentrating on marriage equality. The thought is we then get DADT and supposedly then collectively shut-up? When it is a no brainer to get it anyway? Use it as some weird bargaining chip - that we would have gotten anyway? What other reason could there be for delaying something that is so overwhelmingly supported?

    Posted by: Mike | Jun 23, 2009 8:44:54 AM


  5. if true, thats messed up shit

    Posted by: David | Jun 23, 2009 8:48:42 AM


  6. HRC is lying, and foolish. Their pathetic strategy means there will be no repeal of DADT, and they (we) won't get any LGBT civil rights action under President Fraudbama.

    Posted by: Alex M. | Jun 23, 2009 8:54:14 AM


  7. Of course HRC was lying.

    Posted by: David Ehrenstein | Jun 23, 2009 9:10:09 AM


  8. I wasn't aware that we ever actually believed HRC, so the notion that they may have been lying shouldn't come as a shock to anyone.

    Anyway, Truman signed an executive order forcing the armed services to integrate. He didn't need legislative anything. The whole meme about Obama being unable to halt it himself is false.

    Posted by: taodon | Jun 23, 2009 9:32:27 AM


  9. Since when did the HRC become the one Civil Rights group that spoke for all gays? I don't trust Joe and I could see him agreeing to do that, but would need some proof. He does not speak for me. All rights on the table. Legislation, not words!

    Posted by: David | Jun 23, 2009 9:38:39 AM


  10. With respect, this keeps playing more and more like a TV crime show where there are multiple fingerprints on the body and no eyewitnesses but the local Barney Fife insists, "I got my man! Billy Jo did it! Lock 'im up!"

    At best it's a junk TV rerun THAT DISTRACTS US from what's happening live and in color.

    Note the article refers to "civil rights groupS" - plural.

    I'm NOT saying that gay "leaders" - plural - haven't failed until recently to attempt to put any real pressure on either Congress or the President. They did. But we aren't helped in staying coherent while riding this Tilt-a-Whirl of events inside the Beltway's House of Mirrors by poor reporting in a somewhat wannabe military-adjunct paper.

    Stars & Stripes hasn't "confirmed" anything, merely quoted one unnamed "official with the House Democratic leadership"-when did such singular, unidentified claims equate to professional journalism? The subject is too important to build any part of our house upon such sand.

    It's just as likely that they are merely echoing the early Bellini report or one of the many echoes of it.

    In any case, is one more iteration going to result in any group dependent on gay donations jumping up and recanting their earlier denials? And if they did, how would that help us dump DADT?

    Of far more concern than reheating old leftovers, and suggestive that Stars' reporting is shoddy, is their assertion that repeal "bill sponsor Rep. Ellen Tauscher... publicly said she wouldn't push for passage without support from the president."

    She referenced already having Presidential support in her forceful remarks during the press conference in March when she re-introduced the bill: "We have one thing that we have needed for a long time, which is a president that will sign it."

    Further, Stars failed to mention [do they know?] the unfortunate for us fact that barely two weeks after that press conference learned she was being considered for a State Department post which has been another dip and whirl on this unamusing ride. [No, it's unlikely to be a "divide and conquer" move by WH because someone else will take over lead for the bill when she leaves.]

    Shouldn't we leave the "gotcha games" about what might or might not have happened in the past for post decision books? They only serve to distract from what we all should focus on NOW: demanding the Ring Master freeze discharges and that Congress recharge the repeal ride.

    "Freedom's name is mighty sweet
    And soon we're gonna meet
    Keep your eyes on the prize, hold on

    Now only thing I did was wrong
    Stayin' in the wilderness too long
    Keep your eyes on the prize, hold on

    The only thing we did was right
    Was the day we started to fight
    Keep your eyes on the prize, hold on"


    Posted by: Michael @ LeonardMatlovich.com | Jun 23, 2009 9:42:47 AM


  11. Nothing worse than uniformed people commenting on issues they don't know about. Maybe there was a deal, maybe there wasn't, but what it seems like to me is that ENDA and Hate Crimes have been made a priority on the legislative calendar for gay rights groups and Congress. What on the outside looks like some sort of secret "deal" may very well just be the non-profits and Congress getting their ducks in a row and being on the same page.

    As someone that works in Washington, I know from experience that you can't do everything at once, and if you want to build momentum for the bills you want passed you need a trajectory and a plan. If someone said "hey, we think we can get ENDA and hate crimes passed more quickly than a DADT repeal" that's not a deal, that's just legislative prioritizing.

    Obama already said that he wants the DADT repeal to be something that is done carefully with full military input and support, and he wants it to be bipartisan. You know what that mean? It means more hearings, more persuasion, and more time. You can't just throw these things down for a vote, because if they fail, it looks TERRIBLE.

    There's a hate crimes hearing this week, hopefully that's a prologue to it being passed. Getting it passed builds momentum for other, more complicated issues. Just because the public is behind a DADT repeal, there are a lot of republicans and conservative democrats that have reservations about it; many of whom are very committed to representing their conservative constituents. Right or wrong, that's Washington.

    Posted by: Anthony | Jun 23, 2009 9:47:42 AM


  12. I haven't trusted the HRC since it endorsed Alphonse D'Amato over Chuck Schumer. Certainly don't trust it on DADT now.

    Posted by: Kit | Jun 23, 2009 10:36:07 PM


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