Barack Obama | Don't Ask, Don't Tell | Howard Dean | Military | Robert Gates

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Howard Dean's Open Letter To President: Repeal DADT This Year

Hot on the heels of his surprise appearance at last week's DADT protest in DC, Howard Dean has released an open written to the President asking him to keep the promise he made to repeal the policy. In it, he notes his concern that the repeal could be delayed "indefinitely," due mainly to that now infamous letter by Robert Gates.

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Dean writes: "Americans clearly understand that if someone is brave enough to take a bullet for the USA, then they should have the same equal rights guaranteed to every American under the law -- whether they are serving in the military, or when they come home.

While I understand the need to research how repealing DADT will affect members of the military, the law can still be repealed with an implementation timeline this year.

The time to end "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" is now. I urge you to take immediate action to insure that Congress includes the repeal of DADT -- with an implementation timeline -- in the Defense Authorization bill currently under consideration.
"

Dean has also teamed up with the Courage Campaign and Democracy for America to create a petition urging the President to repeal DADT this year. Sign the petition here.

Read Dean's letter in its entirety, AFTER THE JUMP.


May. 8, 2010 - Dear Mr. President,

When you delivered your State of the Union address in January, you eloquently spoke the following words to Congress and the nation:

"We find unity in our incredible diversity, drawing on the promise enshrined in our Constitution: the notion that we are all created equal, that no matter who you are or what you look like, if you abide by the law you should be protected by it..."

"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."

At the time, we seemed to be making progress. You committed to finally end the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy once and for all, this year. Then in February, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates told a congressional hearing that "we have received our orders from the Commander-in- Chief and we are moving out accordingly." Both announcements were heartening.

However, as you know, Secretary Gates sent a letter to House Armed Services Chair Ike Skelton on April 30 which appears to indefinitely delay the possibility of moving forward with the repeal of DADT until the Pentagon completes a review of the policy.

In his response, Aubrey Sarvis, Executive Director of the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, said:

"As a result of the Commander in Chief's decision to defer to Secretary Gates' wishes and timeline, gay service members will continue to be treated as second class citizens, and any sense of fairness may well have been delayed for yet another year, perhaps for another decade."

I share the concerns of Mr. Sarvis. And so do millions of Americans, as reflected in a recent ABC News/Washington Post poll showing 75% support allowing gays and lesbians to serve openly in the military. Americans clearly understand that if someone is brave enough to take a bullet for the USA, then they should have the same equal rights guaranteed to every American under the law -- whether they are serving in the military, or when they come home.

While I understand the need to research how repealing DADT will affect members of the military, the law can still be repealed with an implementation timeline this year.

The time to end "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" is now. I urge you to take immediate action to insure that Congress includes the repeal of DADT -- with an implementation timeline -- in the Defense Authorization bill currently under consideration.

I am sharing this open letter with my friends in the Courage Campaign and Democracy for America communities, thousands of whom will join me in signing a petition asking you to take leadership to repeal DADT this year. You can read the petition -- and Americans can sign on to it -- here:

http://www.couragecampaign.org/DontWaitDontDelay

One of our nation's most precious and fundamental values is the guarantee of equal rights for every American.

Gay and lesbian Americans have demonstrated their courage and given their lives in service to our country since our nation's military was founded. Now it's time to allow them to say who they are.

On behalf of Courage Campaign and Democracy for America members, thank you for your consideration of this critical national security issue.

- Howard

Gov. Howard Dean, MD
Founder, Democracy for America

P.S. On Tuesday, May 11, more than 300 military veterans will gather in Washington, D.C. to lobby Congress to repeal DADT this year. If you haven't heard about this event, being organized by Servicemembers United and the Human Rights Campaign in partnership with a broad coalition of organizations including the Courage Campaign, please click the link below:

http://www.VeteransLobbyDay.org

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Comments

  1. All Howard Dean has to do to make sure DADT is taken down within a year is to team up in a commercial with Alan Grayson. Barack & Rahm will sense immediate competition which will get their political knickers shaking and actually get them to move on the issue, case solved!

    (Oh yes, and Dean/Grayson for 2012!!!)

    Posted by: Ian | May 9, 2010 12:38:25 PM


  2. I smell a 2016 presidential run. Bring it on, Dr. Dean.

    Posted by: 24play | May 9, 2010 12:56:34 PM


  3. @Ian I would absolutely love Dean/Grayson for 2012! Not simply for gay rights issues, but also for some actual Bold Progressives!

    Posted by: ravewulf | May 9, 2010 1:09:48 PM


  4. Gosh. Playgirl must really be tired from having stayed too late at her weekly Saturday night "Obama Fan Girl Kool Aid Party."

    All she did was demonize Dean as solely being motivated by a desire to run for President again versus a continuing opposition to DADT. Ya see, in Obama Fan Girl World no one can ever disagree with Obama simply on the basis of what he's done or not done. Saints are only criticized by sinners.

    Well, at least she didn't open her usual big purse of sick tricks and call him a racist or a Hater or a Bitter Pants Suit Sniffer or fill-in-the-blank.

    Posted by: Michael @ LeonardMatlovich.com | May 9, 2010 1:55:46 PM


  5. Ian, I wish you were right, but I suspect the White House reaction will be the exact opposite of what you predict.

    As much as I appreciate Dean's support, Rahm hates Howard. Really hates him. So I'm guessing this will only lead the White House to double down on DADT delay until the last small window of opportunity during the lame duck session between the fall election and the swearing in of the new Congress next January.

    Posted by: Smartypants | May 9, 2010 1:59:44 PM


  6. Michael, Michael, Michael. It's kind of sad how your overwhelming hatred of the president (and of me) completely warps what's left of your thought processes.

    As anyone else who read my comment above would probably comprehend, I'm a fan of Howard Dean. He was my candidate back in 2004, and I was very disappointed to see his candidacy destroyed by "The Scream." I would love to see him run again in 2016. Believe it or not, I would also love to see Hillary Clinton run again in 2016.

    And I appreciate Dean's letter to President Obama on the subject of repealing DADT this year. It's helpful.

    And BTW, as long as you can continue to overcome the urge to again slip into slave-speak when discussing the president, I won't feel the need to point out the obvious racism involved in such a display.

    Posted by: 24play | May 9, 2010 2:06:35 PM


  7. KACHING!

    "Hater," "Ignorant," and "Racist"!

    Three Playgirl slurs in one post. My lucky day.

    And a NEW one....drum roll....another alleged dishonest reason I criticize Obama [which couldn't possibly be because he's gone from simply betraying his promises to fight for repeal to stabbing us in the back with SEVEN court briefs DEFENDING DADT Homophobia but now also empowering Gates to kill repeal]....is because...wait for it...I hate his #1 Fangirl!

    The only thing "overwhelming," dear, is your ego. Time again to increase the meds! NURSE!

    Posted by: Michael @ LeonardMatlovich.com | May 9, 2010 2:37:46 PM


  8. Good to see Howard Dean joining the "thrown overboard by Barack Obama" crowd. Soon we will outnumber all other constituencies. Who is left for Obama to throw off the cliff? I don't know anyone who does not feel betrayed by this man gay, straight, left , right, you name it!

    Posted by: InExile | May 9, 2010 3:05:41 PM


  9. who wants to bet obama will find a way not to be in dc when the protest takes place. the last time he went to visit the oil spill.gays in the military should all come out on this day and lets see them handle loosing 40,000 troops at once. obama still has not said a word about the gates letter to congress. gates works for the president and he works for us. the midterm elections are just about 6 months. time for the politicians to start looking for money send them packing not one dime don't sign nominating petitions for canidates who are not on our side just because of party

    Posted by: walter | May 9, 2010 3:13:38 PM


  10. Ms Michael MeatheadIstillsuckBillsdickandHillaryspussy@Matlunatic.
    If he lifted DADT today you'd find another angle of complaint to hold against him Ms Bedwell you never fucking supported him as many of you DID NOT.

    Yeah he can issue a STOP ORDER on DADT. only for alot of you girls to then say well you're too late Barack I'm voting for Mitt, or whomever only for the right wingnuts to win and then have the STOP ORDER done away with and guess what DADT is back law again.

    Then what will you still scream again and further more are you going to enlist???

    And another thing BITCH no one here is drinking any fucking KOOL AID!

    Posted by: Chris | May 9, 2010 5:06:44 PM


  11. Sorry, Christina, don't blame me for seeing through Obama's act from Day 1. And don't blame me...or those millions whose eyes have since been opened...that you still don't. Could it be that you care more about the man than LGBT equality? Why?

    None of your ad hominems about me or any of them change the facts.

    Despite the obvious legal authority to stop discharges the second after he was sworn in over 15 months ago, despite the fact that Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid have asked him to, despite his claiming that such discharges "weaken national" security...he continues to refuse to. Why?

    And despite his still claiming to be "for" repeal itself, he has refused for the second time in two years to put repeal in the defense authorization bill...its only sure method of success...and, if not done this year, will be impossible to do for AT LEAST another TWO YEARS. Why?

    Posted by: Michael @ LeonardMatlovich.com | May 9, 2010 7:20:35 PM


  12. "And another thing BITCH no one here is drinking any fucking KOOL AID!"

    No, at this point Chris and 24Play are mainlining the Kool-Aid. If your first instinct is to tear down anyone who offers any criticism of the president, you're not much better than the Beyonce vs JHud stans.

    And btw, I'm black and Puerto Rican, so don't even try to get racial with me about this. That's starting to wear thin esp from white Obama fanboyz.

    And I have reason to be upset...I'm former USAF and avoided being outed. My lesbian cousin ...not so much. She was outed by an ex-GF and discharged from the Navy. Latinos and blacks suffer most under DADT, its enforced randomly.

    And why would anyone who voted or supported Obama vote for "Mitt" Romney or Palin? That makes no sense. So anyone who criticizes him is a Republican? If you say so, hon. If you say so.

    Posted by: Chris Cruz | May 9, 2010 7:56:09 PM


  13. Those of us who knew Dean in VT are still amazed he has either turned progressive or looks like that from outside VT. Here he was a decidedly middle-of-the-road Dem, almost like our Republicans. We have real Progressives here (Bernie Sanders, for example).

    Remember back 10 years ago when the court said we could have marriage equality or something "like" marriage -- he immediately came out and said, no way marriage, we'll have something else. It stopped the chances for marriage and got us Civil Unions. When the bill passed he signed IN SECRET, with no press, which no one now remembers.

    But kudos to him if he's evolved (maybe all the gay support has helped). Now, and on the national scene, he definitely looks better than most.

    Posted by: KevinVT | May 9, 2010 8:41:01 PM


  14. Miss Chris FUCK YOU....he didn't support him..... and I could give a fuck about your racial makeup..

    Or maybe would you like some "SNOW QUEEN" with that

    And you said:And why would anyone who voted or supported Obama vote for "Mitt" Romney or Palin? That makes no sense.

    Obviously you don't know much do you, Or are you a Clintonista also???
    Queen get around!

    Posted by: Chris | May 9, 2010 11:28:58 PM


  15. And another thing queen I'M BLACK!

    Posted by: Chris | May 9, 2010 11:29:57 PM


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