SLDN’s Aubrey Sarvis ‘Disturbed’ by Reports That White House is Lobbying Congress Against ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ Repeal This Year

Aubrey Sarvis, executive director of the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, has written Obama a letter expressing his concerns over "multiple reports" from Capitol Hill that the White House Congressional liaison team is urging some members of Congress to delay a vote on repealing "Don't Ask, Don't Tell".

Sarvis  Says Sarvis in the letter:

I am very disturbed by multiple reports from Capitol Hill that your Congressional liaison team is urging some Members of Congress to avoid a vote on repeal this year. The upcoming House and Senate votes will be close, and very frankly, Mr. President, we need your help now.

As a veteran, and on behalf of thousands of men and women who have served and want to serve their country openly, I ask you today to stand by your encouraging words to the American people in your State of The Union address: “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. It's the right thing to do.”

Mr. President, this is also about the integrity of all service members. I respectfully urge you to continue speaking up for them on Capitol Hill. Under your leadership and with your voice we can have a repeal victory this year.

Last week, the White House released a statement from an "unnamed source" rebutting similar reports of delay from Americablog

Dadt Said the unnamed official: "These rumors are blatantly false. The President has been clear in his desire to see Congress repeal Don't Ask, Don't Tell, and the Department of Defense is already moving forward with its own review. The Office of Legislative Affairs continues to engage lawmakers, and at no time has the White House asked any Member to take this issue off the table."

Sarvis told The Advocate's Kerry Eleveld that the pressure is coming from the Pentagon:

"Sarvis told The Advocate that he has gotten reports from Capitol Hill staffers in both the Senate and House that representatives from the Department of Defense have asked them to hold off on taking a vote on the policy until a report on how to implement repeal is completed. The study, ordered by Defense Secretary Robert Gates in February, is due in early December.

'The administration is saying, ‘Look, the working group has its task, their work is not concluded until the end of the year, and we would prefer that this not be voted on this year,’' Sarvis said.

Asked if the directive came from officials at the White House or the Defense Department, Sarvis said, 'It’s the Pentagon, but the Pentagon is part of the administration.'

The Department of Defense was not immediately available for comment."

As for what needs to happen:

"The challenge for pro-repeal advocates, Sarvis said, is finding a way to reconcile the president’s stated goal in the State of the Union with the secretary’s desire to have the remainder of 2010 to finish the study. Sarvis said his organization and other groups are working to bridge that gap. Servicemembers United, a gay veterans group floated a plan earlier this year that would legislatively lock in repeal this session but respect the implementation timetable laid out by Pentagon officials."


  1. Mawm says

    Obama is a total homophobe who loves getting over on the gay community. Getting gays to donate money and time all the while subverting their goals is a really fun trick to pull off.

  2. Wayne says

    If anyone was wondering why Obama trotted out that crumb of a PR stunt about hospital visitation rights (that most hospitals had already adopted before Obama’s memo anyway) it’s because this White House knows full well that they WILL NOT KEEP THEIR PROMISES ON REPEALING DADT this year OR DOMA or passing ENDA. So the hospital visitation memo is their weak broth defense to show that Obama is doing something for the gays. It’s pathetic.

  3. says

    Aubrey Sarvis should quit in shame. He, along with Solmonese have spent months defending Obama’s cowardly lies and telling those of us that didn’t believe Obama when he said DADT would be repealed this year that we were not “politically savvy”. Obviously Sarvis, Solmonese, don’t have a clue as to what is going on and need to go. They have been disastrous for our civil rights movement. Until our community wakes up and realizes that Obama is LYING to us, we will get nowhere.

  4. fabulist says

    This is politics as usual, and more broken promises. Gay rights will never be a priority for this administration the way it was with Clinton. They’ll wait until the last possible opportunity to address DADT in order to stem midterm losses in congress. It’s up to the gay community to make it a priority. This is another shameful example of the lack of leadership from President Obama, who looks petrified when addressing gay and lesbian audiences.

  5. walter says

    our fierce ally gives crumbs from the table,especially when he is challenged about
    lack of progress. election day grows close the politicians will be out looking for money and votes.make them work for both. and hrc must become much more demanding. time to kill the phot ops and coctail parties and get out into the streets.

  6. X says

    Agreed. Gays don’t have to sacrifice themselves to support an America that remains bigoted, and the sooner DADT changes, the better.

  7. Ted Larson says

    “Obama is a total homophobe who loves getting over on the gay community. Getting gays to donate money and time”
    I am a gay veteran who has at least 20 to 25 personal straight friends and family who support the repeal and who are also holding back on donations to the Obama camp. He isn’t just pulling the wool over the gay community, but many times more the count of the gay community. I know all of us have many straight friends, family and allies who support us for full equality. Somebody needs to remind the president and democrats there is much more at stake than just losing the support the gay community.