Barack Obama | Don't Ask, Don't Tell | Military | News

White House Indicates it Has No Intention of Repealing 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' This Year


At a White House press briefing today, Press Secretary Robert Gibbs indicated that the President is committed to waiting for the Pentagon to finish its "study" on "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" before actively pushing for repeal, effectively pushing it into 2011.

So, while the repeal could conceivably be attached to a Department of Defense authorization bill to be considered next month, in line with the President's promise made in the State of the Union address, this is the clearest indication yet that no support will be coming from the White House on that.

Transcript, and video, AFTER THE JUMP...

The hopeful news is that there are a growing number of Democrats in Congress who say they are unwilling to wait for the lengthy military study, as evidenced by Senator Udall's statement I posted earlier today. 

David Mixner reports: "I have spent the day visiting on the phone with extremely reliable sources on Capitol Hill in both the Senate and House. With over twenty calls, I have been able to determine that the revolt is perhaps much larger than the media realizes. There is a sense of total frustration with the administration. They just don't understand why the White House won't move on this issue. Many of persons on the Hill that I spoke too are from states with large urban populations, including in the South. They feel the failure to vote this year on DADT will have a 'chilling effect' regarding voter turn out in the Fall elections. Those interviewed think that not only will many LGBT citizens stay home but also other progressives."


Q Let me get back to the question. So there was the heckling on Monday night, there's the veterans yesterday at the White House gates handcuffing themselves to the fence. All of these actions are aimed at getting repeal this year, something the White House has sort of declined to commit to since the State of the Union address. Has the White House misjudged the level of patience among LGBT and grassroots activists on this?

MR. GIBBS: No. Again, I would remind anybody on this issue -- look, first of all, I will say this. Obviously the President made a commitment in the presidential campaign, and understands the passion that people hold the belief that all should be able to serve. The President holds that belief too.

But I would remind folks that wasn't a belief that the President held in 2007 -- that's a belief that the President held in running for the Senate as far back as 2003.

The President has made and is committed to making this changed law. I don't think he's underestimated the -- as you said, the patience of some. The President wants to see this law changed, just as you've heard the Chair of the Joint Chiefs and others in the military say that it's time for that change to happen. 

Q But he's committed to them letting the Pentagon work through its working group process until December 1st, is that true? He's committed to that?

MR. GIBBS: Yes. The President has set forward a process with the Joint -- the Chair of the Joint Chiefs and with the Secretary of Defense to work through this issue.

Q Before any legislative action is taken -- that rules out legislative action this year?

MR. GIBBS: Well, again -- the House and the Senate are obviously a different branch of government. The President has a process and a proposal I think that he believes is the best way forward to seeing, again, the commitment that he's made for many years in trying to -- changing that law.

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  1. well another lying politician shows his true colors. fierce advocate bollshit just more lies. remember this when when they want money and votes. democrats are no better the repuklicans. time for more independents.

    Posted by: walter | Apr 21, 2010 6:41:16 PM

  2. I am SHOCKED! Shocked I tells ya!

    Posted by: Tralfaz | Apr 21, 2010 6:42:42 PM

  3. I say we also review the issue of blacks serving with whites, and of inter-racial marriage. Lets turn it back and make Obama a bastard.

    Posted by: patrick nyc | Apr 21, 2010 6:47:37 PM

  4. "let me be clear, when I say this year, i wasn't talking about this year I was talking about a future year when making hard stands would be easy"

    Posted by: Tim | Apr 21, 2010 6:54:33 PM

  5. also that will be the year i spend less money

    Posted by: Tim | Apr 21, 2010 6:55:04 PM

  6. I'm sorry, but when did the White House indicate it DID intend to repeal DADT this year?

    Over and over, Obama and Gibbs say the President "wants the law repealed", "will work with Congress", etc. Never once did he say he would issue a stop-loss order, or an executive order, or a signing statement, or whatever. That never happened. The idea that he could or would do that came only from us- our hope, our vision of what a liberal President COULD do, if only they did exactly what we wanted.

    He never promised that. If he had, he would be lying now. Hell, from where I'm sitting, we're fortunate that the White House still officially wants the repeal to happen. Politicians regularly do complete 180s on their campaign promises, and HE HAS NOT DONE THAT. HE NEVER PROMISED.

    Posted by: JeffRob | Apr 21, 2010 6:57:30 PM

  7. Wants the law repealed THIS YEAR, will work with congress to have the law repealed THIS YEAR, JeffRob.

    Enjoy your koolaid.

    Posted by: Gridlock | Apr 21, 2010 7:01:55 PM

  8. Technically, what O said in the SOTU address was "This year, I will work with Congress and our military to finally repeal the law that denies gay Americans the right to serve the country they love because of who they are."

    So I guess it's the "working with Congress and the military" that's happening this year, rather than the actual repeal?

    Posted by: KevinVT | Apr 21, 2010 7:03:03 PM

  9. You know what, JeffRob, it's of little concern to me if Obama promised to lift the ban this year, next year or just moments before the Rapture.

    The White House has abandoned the "fierce urgency of now" and refused to show leadership on this issue. In waiting till after the elections they hope to kick it down the road and blame the GOP for an inevitable blockade.

    What the White House doesn't understand is that we are in a new moment. The train has left the station. They either climb aboard or get left behind in 2012.

    I don't give a shit if they think we're their only chance. I won't have my vote, my wallet or my life taken for granted.

    Posted by: yonkersconquers | Apr 21, 2010 7:08:31 PM

  10. baboozled, hoodwinked, sold down the river, betrayed and deceived. year it won't be repealed, either. You see in politics there is always a "good" excuse to do nothing.

    Posted by: TANK | Apr 21, 2010 7:19:51 PM

  11. bamboozled, flim flammed, and taken for a ride even.

    Posted by: TANK | Apr 21, 2010 7:20:42 PM

  12. F#ck Obama and the Democrats. Not another dime not another vote! I'm going third party and never looking back.

    Posted by: rduke | Apr 21, 2010 7:24:33 PM

  13. it is any wonder now why the white house worked so hard to keep the demonstrations from being covered by the press and the president attacked when being challenged on his stand. they questioners hit a raw nerve. where is the hrc? they still telling us they are working on it. isn't it time for them to have another photo-op or cocktail party. obama better get ready to invite them back to the wh

    Posted by: walter | Apr 21, 2010 7:24:58 PM

  14. The President has already acted on DADT. He's said numerous times (as recently as this week) that he is committed to repealing it, his chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, Mike Mullen, has said the law should be repealed. His defense secretary, Robert Gates, has initiated a review of the effect of DADT on military readiness. If the Congress sends Obama legislation that has repeal of DADT in it; he will sign it. But he's not going to put the full weight of his presidency behind it until the review is completed. Let the process run its course. None of this would have happened had Obama not been elected in the first place. Mccain or Bush anyone??

    Posted by: Brian in Texas | Apr 21, 2010 7:26:54 PM

  15. Oh brian, you're so confused about how things work. The study is needless; there are many studies that show it has no effet on preparedness, and that repeal would not adversely impact servicemen and is a glorified stalling tactic. This is now a shell game, and DICKS like you don't need to be promoting it.

    Posted by: TANK | Apr 21, 2010 7:32:03 PM

  16. I think they should have waited and done an extensive study on Civil Rights Law and integration of schools in the sixties.

    Posted by: Mark | Apr 21, 2010 7:33:47 PM

  17. Mixner's right when he speaks of a chilling effect in voter turn out in the fall elections. I, for one, am over the great experimental democracy called "The United States of America" and won't waste my time this fall.

    I think this was the last great chance to convince this generation that our government is worth participating in. It is becoming abundantly clear that we stumble in a drunken stupor toward Liberty where our neighbors routinely succeed to stroll in confidently.

    If the first African-American President proves ineffective in advancing civil equality, who will be? If not now, when? May as well strike Martin Luther King Jr's Birthday from national observance and let us commemorate Lenin or Hitler instead - for the sake of consistency. Have we learned nothing from history?

    Hope and change we can believe in? How can one have hope when we are literally fighting to convince our 'advocates' to advocate on our behalf, exhausting ourselves to provoke our 'allies' from their complacency to compassionate acts of justice? ...and they seem annoyed when we are impatient with them as they casually piece together our lives and our futures like some rainy-day jigsaw puzzle on a card-table in their spare bedroom..."Someday it will all come together; you'll see!"

    Barack Obama, 'Yes, we can!' = 'Yes, we might have, but alas, when pressed, we didn't!'

    Posted by: Samuel | Apr 21, 2010 7:39:02 PM

  18. And for those of you talking about donating and voting for third party candidates; please don't waste your time and money. Our country has a two party political system and that will not change soon.

    Ralph Nader got 97,488 votes from Florida in the 2000 Presidential Election, as well as tens of thousands to other 3rd party candidates. You think Gore could have used those votes? Iraq war anyone? Of course we are free to vote for whom we please, but I think its against most people's best interests and just a waste of time.

    Posted by: Brian in Texas | Apr 21, 2010 7:44:15 PM

  19. What cowards, putting partisan issues before human rights. Obama has some cred left, but he's spending it quickly. Shame shame shame on all of them.

    Posted by: Tone | Apr 21, 2010 7:50:56 PM

  20. Third party or not at all! There's no other way for an oppressed minority to voice discontent. None.

    Posted by: TANK | Apr 21, 2010 7:51:01 PM

  21. I think it's a waste of time and personal best interests to give money or vote for people who continually lie to you.

    Go ahead and keep voting for lies, Brian. I'm done with that. So are a lot of people.

    You, my friend, are still trapped by the 2 party dinosaur dogma, a little automaton bleating out pre-programmed establishment nonsense.


    It's a game of chicken: If the Democrats do not give you a return on your investment, then you vote for someone else. Period.

    Stop giving away your vote for NOTHING.

    Posted by: Gridlock | Apr 21, 2010 7:51:13 PM

  22. Every Obama promise comes with a expiration date.

    The guys a fucking liar, and the people who are defending him are his house slaves.

    Posted by: Larry | Apr 21, 2010 8:07:08 PM

  23. Hmmm, 2011? I fully expect the Dems won't have a majority in either house after the midterms. The chance of this or even ENDA every getting passed if not done this year is nil.

    If nothing happens, I will stay home during the elections for the very first time since turning 18. This IS a civil rights issue, plain and simple. If they can't be bothered due to political expedience, then why should I?

    Posted by: Keith | Apr 21, 2010 8:10:27 PM

  24. Since the wrongness of DADT has been apparent for many years now, it's no wonder that we are frustrated by this so-called process to "study" the policy further. 2010, with its large Democratic majority, was the year for decisiveness. 2011 may be a whole new ball game, and, as was evidenced by the Democratic stalling on health care reform, endless processing serves no purpose other than giving Republicans the opportunity to fear monger and obstruct and call attention to the administration's weaknesses.

    I actually believe the President is committed to repealing DADT, but the way he's going about it--and the continuing slimy Gibbs evasiveness about the timing--does not instill confidence and reinforces the message that gay rights are not even close to being a priority. The energized base the Dems will need in Nov isn't likely to include gay voters, and that doesn't seem to bother them. Which only makes me give a thumbs-up to GetEQUAL tactics--we've a right to be pissed off and rude.

    Posted by: Ernie | Apr 21, 2010 8:12:32 PM

  25. If it's this problematic for them to repeal DADT, just imagine all the other "gay" issues. I laugh when the kool-aid crowd believes Obama is a "fierce advocate". It's the same for women. When Ms. magazine did a cover of Obama saying this is what a feminist looks like. I laughed. Meanwhile Obama used women's rights as a bargaining chip for his Romneycare Bill. His campaign was sexist beyond belief. You should have known by his inclusion of certain bigots at his inaugural. How's that hopey changey workin' for ya? I'll wait.

    Posted by: NYSmike | Apr 21, 2010 8:12:54 PM

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