Dick Durbin Sends Signal ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ Off Table for 2010

The Hill reports on next year's agenda in Congress:

Durbin "Reid, meanwhile, has pushed for the repeal of the military’s 'Don’t
ask, don’t tell' policy, which prohibits gays from serving openly in
the military. Gay-rights activists have put strong pressure on Obama and Democratic leaders to repeal the ban sooner rather than later. Reid
sent a letter to Obama last month asking him to provide recommendations
on gays serving in the military, noting that Congress is considering 'future legislative action.' Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin
(D-Ill.) said he was not certain whether repealing 'Don’t ask, don’t
tell' would be on next year’s agenda. It looks increasingly
likely that healthcare reform will spill into next year, and Democrats
have made it a high priority to overhaul the nation’s financial
regulatory laws before next November. One Democratic
senator facing reelection in a Republican-leaning state said he does
not want to see the issue of gays in the military, immigration reform
or even climate change on next year’s agenda."

If you recall, last month Durbin told Politico they were too busy right now to deal with it: "We have a very heavy, busy agenda and a few months left to do it. So it may not be now, but that
doesn’t mean it won’t be soon."

Apparently that doesn't mean it will be, either.

So, according to Durbin, not now, not next year. Once again, they'll get to the gay stuff when it's convenient (or, of course, when we start withholding campaign contributions again).


  1. Terry says

    I agree with The Milkman. Seriously, there are great groups out there that can use the millions of dollars we’ve sent to the Democratic Party over the years. Groups that actually help us work for GLBT equality. The Democratic Party is all but coming out and saying they don’t give a damn about one of their core constituencies. Pretty obvious if it isn’t already. Pressure to withhold our money is the only thing the politicians understand.

  2. Wren says

    With all due genuine respect and admiration for LGBT servicemen and women who are free to make their own choices based on their own convictions, personally, I would not want to serve in the military of a country that does not recognize me as a full citizen including marriage rights, job/housing protection/DADT, the whole ball of wax. Until such a time, I consider myself a man without a country in the emotional if not the legal sense.

  3. James says

    Fuck the democrats. They can’t get ANYTHING done. At least the Republicans follow through on their agenda. The democrats only create an agenda when they need money and votes, and then get bogged down into trying to make everyone love all of their ideas. Hey Dems, the people that don’t want healthcare reform? They ain’t voting for you anyways, ditto on economic reform, DITTO on gay rights.

  4. says

    “The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few.”

    I’m just saying.

    We’re a minority and there are more pressing problems to deal with. I’d rather see health care reform passed and new financial regulation enforced before anything else is addressed.

    Besides, if we want changes WE – the GLBT community – needs to pressure our elected officials to act on our behalf and NOT wait like hissy queens for others to the work for us, okay?

  5. Hank says

    We need to push the administration and congress ( our own local reps? or key committee members/swing votes? – both) really hard on this issue this year , because the dems will inevitably lose seats in 2010, and then who knows when this will ever be addressed- very possibly not for the rest of Obama’s Presidency, or the one that follows, which will be probably be a rightward pendulum -swing. There are significant voices now within the military brass in favor, & I think a lot of the public is there too, especially the Admin’s younger voter base; it seems to me this and ENDA have a better shot than DOMA repeal.
    We need to make Obama think about his legacy, did he do the right thing when he had the chance.

  6. Windy says

    “It’s really depressing because while I totally get the idea of not wanting to rock any boats while working to be re-elected…when does the cycle end? When does stuff happen?”

    When term limits happen….i.e. NEVER!

  7. Bruno says

    We need to tell Mr. Durbin he gets no financial support from the LGBT community until he FIGHTS those other Democrats to get DADT repealed. As well as any other congressperson or president who decides it’s not worth fighting for right now.

  8. Bill in SoCal says

    Why can’t progressives stay in power? Why are Republicans far more united and successful politically? Many of the comments here point to one reason why. The Democratic Party still consists of a bunch of special and narrow interests, often in conflict with one another, rarely working together in concert to advance common causes.
    Who do we, LBGT Americans, share more values with, The Democratic Party or the Republican Party? The answer should be pretty clear. If conservatives are put in office, indeed possibly back into th majority in Congress, how will this move the fight for LBGT equal rights forward? We must work with the knowledge that the longer Repubs are in power the more judicial appointments they will make. This is where the real power resides on civil rights and conservatives have already shifted the courts quite a bit.
    Sorry for the cliché, but let’s not cut off our nose to spite our face.
    A much better explaination of why abandoning Democratic Party candidates and values simply because our goals are not being reached as quickly as we like is self- defeating can be found by reading the chapter “This Ain’t No Party” in the book “Crashing The Gate” by Jerome Armstrong and Markos Moulitsas Zúniga.

  9. DR says

    The cycle NEVER ends, sadly. Get a win in 2008, midterm elections in 2010 (not looking like a slam dunk at all!), re-election bid in 2012, etc. Until the Dems grow a pair, this will always be the excuse because there will ALWAYS be something more important than us on the table.

    just saying.

  10. kansastock says

    The repugs basically say ‘we got it and we won’t share’. The dems are saying ‘we got it and we might share if you give us a blowjob’. Politics isn’t rocket science… I’m just saying.

  11. says

    Yeah, seriously, we need to send money to people and business who actually help gay people — NOT the Democrats or Republicans obviously, and apparently not the HRC, either.

    I vote Canada and Europe.

  12. Dave says

    People seem under the impression that there’s a wide chasm between powerful Democrats and powerful Republicans. Both Dick Cheney and Obama are for “civil unions” but oppose “marriage”…quite a few major Democrats are that way, which to me that whole political platform sounds like pre-Brown v Board of Education with the whole “separate but equal” spin. The best way to get civil rights is to elect people who support civil rights instead of putting in segregationists into office…and someone wearing the Democrat label doesn’t by any means mean they aren’t segregationists.

  13. Marc says

    The more ‘phobes and haters realize no one is willing to stick out their neck for us including ourselves, the more emboldened they shall become. Mark my words, there will be a lot more death and destruction laid at the feet of the LGBT community.

    If you aren’t willing to fight for your life, then you don’t deserve any change. Open season is almost upon us.

  14. Attmay says

    Well, well, well. The man who compared our soldiers to Nazis sells out gay and lesbian soldiers.

    Oh, and Dave, Dick Cheney supports gay marriage rights, albeit at a state level. He is ahead of the “Fierce Advocate™” Obama.

    As long as American citizens are third class and treated worse than illegal immigrants, all other issues can wait.

  15. Bisera says

    This is heartbreaking because he’s my senator and in the past he’s been the one person Illinois can confide in. He’s actually fought for people. But I think the main reason the “gay stuff” isn’t on the table is due to all the upper class people focusing more on the economy and etc.

  16. So Left I'm Right says

    The DNC and friends need to understand in clear and unequivocal terms that the Rainbow Wallet is closed to them. OFA is bullshit, and they need to be told so (I belatedly resigned the other day over a health care clusterfuck, and told them why.) Obama and Democrats in general have failed to even half-heartedly support the causes for which they campaigned and made promises. That’s fine, but fool me once…(continue with George W. Blather).

    It’s fine to prioritize health care and Afghanistan, of course. But this is a multi-task world we live in, and things haven’t been just put on the back burner, they have spent supposedly “precious” time undermining efforts to support or defend gay rights. Where is the political capital spent even mentioning the Maine vote? Where is the same DOJ attitude about DOMA in filing legal briefs that we get in other areas they decline to fully enforce? While extreme national security justifications are used for everything under the sun, is there no national security justification to halt discharges under DADT (see under Arabic translators, gay) while the policy is put under review?

    For the next election cycle, it will be important to target campaign contributions to the true pro-gay, progressive candidates. The letter D means nothing really, but there will be plenty of surprising opportunities. Sometimes the good guys win, and it is important to keep up the fight where possible. I’m trying to be positive after that whole Maine thing.

  17. Oscar in Miami Beach says

    I’m not a Republican but I love for Obama to fail.Obama hates gays.He lies to us left,right and in between.With him goes the Nation and if that is what is needed,so be it.Christians are the biggest liars there is.They use Leviticus to condemn gays but eat shrimps and the women wear pants (the last two are also condemn in Leviticus).Remember that Obama is a christian and he is black and blacks in the USA really believe that civil rights are for them and them only.Two reasons why he does not care for gays and will very slowly and reluntantly will seem to help us but not really.All Obama wants is the gays dollars,of which we have more than the average american.We should not send donations to the politicians until they deliver on our agenda.

  18. Tom says

    The DFL will lose seats in 2010, probably enough to lose control of part of Congress. At the moment I’d say Obama has a 50/50 chance of having a second term. Depends on how the economy does. There will be more progress at state and local level for gay rights, but nothing significant will happen at Federal level in the next decade and probably nothing in the next two decades.

    As for DADT, I think every gay in the military should come out of the closet. If the country they are serving has that little respect for them they are deluding themselves that the country they are fighting for is worth saving.

    Sorry. I’m always depressed, cynical and pessimistic after an election.

  19. John says

    Unfortunately, the Democrats are far more likely to lose the House than the Senate.

    And I say unfortunate because for all the senators’ arrogance about being the more “august” body, it is the House that controls the direction of legislation. Because the House passes legislation at about twice the rate of the Senate, and thus, almost always goes first. While the Senate can veto or delay legislation, they’re usually not in the drivers’ seat when it comes to the ideological tone of a Congress.

    A Republican dominated House – especially one with a strong Speaker or Majority Leader – will run circles around a timid Democratic Senate. We’ve seen that happen before. In the aftermath of 9-11, the Democratic controlled Senate basically rolled over on command and did whatever the House Republicans and Bush told them to do.

  20. John D says

    My local congressional candidate is pro-marriage equality. She came to Pride and talked about everything from health care to DADT to marriage equality.

    I’ll contribute to her campaign and to the campaigns of other people who support my full civil rights.

    I’ll vote for people who support most of my civil rights, but they won’t get my cash.

  21. chrispy says

    Two comments – I think we should cull out our own weak leaders that let us down the path again in Maine first before we abandon Dems or Reps. The politicos did not cause that loss nor the other 30 some ballot losses to date. Change strategy – do we need 30 more losses before somebody wakes up and reprioritises our goals? Second, the vast majority of “wins” we have had to date have come through litigation. If your looking to put your money somewhere else why not give to those low key but successful LGBT legal groups like Lambda Legal, GLAD, etc. FORGET HRC!

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