White House Gives Endorsement to ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ Repeal Compromise, Amendment Language

Here are the latest reports on the meetings toward brokering a compromise on "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" between the White House, gay advocates, and lawmakers.

Whitehouse MetroWeekly reported earlier that three leading lawmakers on DADT sent a letter to the White House seeking the administration's official views on any proposed repeal plan:

"The three members of Congress who have taken the lead on DADT repeal – Sens. Carl Levin (D-Mich.) and Joseph Lieberman (I-Conn.) and Rep. Patrick Murphy (D-Penn.) – have written a letter, obtained by Metro Weekly, dated May 24, to President Obama seeking 'the Administration's official views' on 'a legislative proposal.' and language in a repeal amendment."

The letter is posted at MetroWeekly.

The White House Director of the Office of Management and Budget Peter Orzsag responded this evening, signing off on plans for Congress to effectively attempt repeal of DADT later this week, according to a copy of a letter to Senator Joseph Lieberman received by Towleroad.

Says the endorsement, in part:

"…the Administration is of the view that the proposed amendment meets the concerns raised by the Secretary of Defense and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff…The proposed amendment will allow for completion of the Comprehensive Review, enable the Department o fDefense to assess the results of the review, and ensure that the implementation of the repeal is consistent with standards of military readiness, effectiveness, unit cohesion, recruiting and retention…The Administration therefore supports the proposed amendment."

Here's the letter (PDF).

And here is
the repeal Amendment (PDF).

The Palm Center released a statement in response to the compromise:

“The President’s statement today keeps his promise to lift the ban by establishing the terms on which ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ will be dismantled,” stated Aaron Belkin, Palm Center Director. “For the past seventeen years, every expert who has studied this policy has emphasized that dismantling it would require leadership. Leadership is what the President showed today.”



The AP reports much of what we learned earlier from Kerry Eleveld: 

"Under the proposal emerging from talks at the White House, Congress would remove the Clinton-era "don't ask, don't tell" law even as the Pentagon continues an ongoing review of the system. Implementation of policy for gays serving openly would still require the approval of President Barack Obama, Defense Secretary Robert Gates and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Adm. Mike Mullen. How long implementation might take was not known.
Activists met at the White House through the day with administration officials who are trying to broker a compromise. Policy aides to Democratic leaders met Monday morning to discuss the potential deal and top Democratic lawmakers planned to meet Monday evening on Capitol Hill.
Hoping to secure those votes, Democrats described a compromise that would add the repeal to the annual defense spending bill but delay its implementation until after the Pentagon completes its study."

Chris Johnson at the Washington Blade asked Robert Gibbs earlier whether the White House would support the efforts to repeal the measure this week.

Said Gibbs: "I’ve seen some of the reports – I’ve not seen what exactly is being discussed. Obviously, it’s likely that Congress is going to act this week. If they decide to do that, we’ll certainly examine what those efforts are…"

Murphy Politico has more, and says that Thursday is when we should see action in Congress:

The White House and the Pentagon are remaining quiet about details of a possible compromise. And a congressional aide said that, although discussions were “promising,” it was too soon to characterize them as any sort of “deal.”

“Given that Congress insists on addressing this issue this week, we are trying to gain a better understanding of the legislative proposals they will be considering,” said Pentagon spokesman Geoff Morrell.

Congressional action on the issue is expected in both the House and Senate on Thursday. In the House, Rep. Patrick Murphy (D-Pa.) is set to offer an amendment to the defense authorization bill approved last week by the House Armed Services Committee.

In related news, Senator Mark Udall has launched an emergency petition that he will be taking to the mark-up session of the Senate Armed Services Committee. You can sign it here.


  1. veg says

    The problem is that with this compromise there STILL won’t be a nondiscrimination policy for gays. Originally, DADT *was* a compromise itself that was seen as better than the violence and horrible discharges that gays faced previously in the military. If DADT is lifted then there needs to be nondiscriminatory policies in place and a definite timeline for the implementation of this nondiscriminatory, explicit policy allowing gays to serve just as openly as anyone else in the military.

  2. Rich says

    I don’t think anyone realizes how damaging the Gates study group is going to be at the end of all this. Those Pentagon recommendations on readiness, effectiveness, unit cohesion, recruiting and retention are all going to come back with negative recommendations from the study group. The group is conducting unscientific and biased work to marginalize voices from the gay and lesbian community while amplifying those from conservative, anti-gay political groups. If the Pentagon’s study group is not exposed for the fraud that it is, we’ll see open and honest service for gays and lesbians set back another decade.

  3. FunMe says

    That is NOT a compromise. It’s more like a cover for Obama so they have a “win” which really isn’t helping us at all.

    A full REPEAL is needed, not this bs.

    It’s all a scam, and Obama is doing more of his spin. Hey, he probably promised another “champagne & caviar at the White House” party. HRC always falls for that.

    Pam is steaming mad:


    “Do they think we cannot see the political jiu-jitsu at work — it’s repeal with no teeth, as in it gives the administration and the LGBT groups the ability to claim “victory” in 2010, without actually freeing the members of the military who will continue to serve in silence. They have to wait for 1) the study to reach completion (what was likely to happen regardless) and a new wrinkle — 2) an arbitrary time when the President, Gates and Mullen decide they know how to implement it without any ill effects, and the president signs an executive order signaling “go forth” with anti-discrimination measures. That’s a pitiful half-measure. How about “it’s an order?”
    The Obama administration has left the fate of service members in the hands of the Pentagon as the final arbiter — and whoever was present working on our behalf as a community thinks this is palatable. Remember that.”

  4. walter says

    it seems that are too many conditions being put on repeal. it should be just plain eliminating the policy without conditions. when the services were integrated there was no placing levels and conditions on the
    integrations. this a giant smoke screen to cover the lack of progress before the november elections.time for coctails.

  5. Jose Cazares says

    Come on, the White House ‘endorses’ a repeal of DADT! The President has ‘endorsed’ an end to DADT since he was running for office. The problem is that is all his administration does! Frankly, this development is NO change from the usual gutlessness this administration has shown to Gays and Lesbians since taking office. This ‘announcement’ is simply and only intended to allow the President and the Democratic National Committee to solicit more campaign contributions from Gay people as well as other liberal donors. For instance, it is no coincidence that the President is due to travel to California soon, ostensibly to assist with Democratic primary efforts, but in fact to fundraise here — the state that contains the largest openly, as well as most affluent Gay and Lesbian communities in the nation. If the White House were serious they would simply announce a SPECIFIC DATE for the end to to DADT, and just do it!

  6. Chapotheother says

    And just to twist the knife a bit more, they reaffirmed the application of DOMA. This is what we get when a Democratic President “negotiates” with a Democratic Congress?!! I’m voting Green.

  7. jersey says

    The study group is rigged in our favor–partly because the facts are in our favor, but mostly because Obama is smart enough not to fuck with the formula. What matters to him is the GENERAL NARRATIVE that he is providing us rights, which he kind of is. Just not at the pace any of us would like, or with the fierce urgency of his political campaigns. As the the Latino community and civil liberties groups have proven, we aren’t the only ones getting short shrift here.

    I was obviously in New Jersey for the marriage fight this year and it was horrible. It is not acceptable to leave this kind of issue until after the elections and or for any indefinite “later date” and I will be extremely happy if this amendment passes. We seem to have fooled ourselves into thinking repealing DADT is some kind of no-brainer because the country is past it. Americans might think this is a non-issue, but the old, straight, socially conservative, white military men on the Senate Armed Services committee sure don’t. And if they sign off on this amendment it will be a huge victory.

  8. says

    Without a guarantee date of full repeal and equal treatment (including recognition of civil unions/dp/marriage as Marriage), say 6/30/2011, then it’s all moot.

  9. Dan says

    Why the hell do you need to ‘compromise’ on an idiotic policy like that!?!?! It should be an non-issue, period!

    And is this real study or just a group of people brainstorming BS? Have they look at the (lack of) effects of countries whose military don’t have any anti-gay policy. Seriously, they should find that none of these concerns are realized.

    A compromise to DADT is akin to saying well, African/ Latinos/ Asians Americans can KINDA serve on the military. Just don’t be ethnic about it.

    *SIGH*… I’m so mad about this and I’m not even an American citizen…

  10. Keith says

    I have quite an extensive group of friends here on the West Coast, and it’s unanimous. . .this compromise sucks big time. We all agree that while the Legislature and White House will argue that they met the campaign promise of overturning DADT, they in fact have merely pushed this repulsive policy back on to the military brass, which has no intention of lifting the ban or discharges. Our hearts go out to Lt. Dan Choi and fellow service members who have faught and sacrificed much to make a positive change. . .they were stabbed in the back by this compromise, and they deserved better.

  11. TANK says

    This compromise would lend itself to further legislation if the military drags its feet for implementation of repeal (which is, apparently, at their discretion if this goes through).

  12. yonkersconquers says

    FAIL. Seriously. The WORST part is that in Washington they actually think this will look like repeal.

  13. jersey says

    “Without a guarantee date of full repeal and equal treatment (including recognition of civil unions/dp/marriage as Marriage), say 6/30/2011, then it’s all moot.”

    Why is it moot? What indication do you have that this is even remotely realistic?

  14. says

    If other reports are true(I did not read it here)the implementation of the repeal, could be delayed as much as 5 years down the road. Many of those involved with this crap of a compromise won’t even be around then.

  15. FunMe says

    I endorse a possibility of continuing to vote “Democrat” this November.

    I need to have a study about it.

    I have to also consider whether I will give $$$money$$$ and time to the Democrat Party in November as I always have.

    But you know what, I have to “study” the matter. I will let the DNC know by December if I decide to support them.

    Oops, I know it may be too late … but hey!

    Obama and my Democrat party are so transparent. We are not stupid to fall for his tricks. Well at least I’m not.

    More money for me to take an additional vacation instead of supporting my party that has BETRAYED us in the GLBT community.

  16. major707 says

    NO MONEY, NO SUPPORT AND NO VOTES FOR DEMOCRATS UNTIL GAYS CAN SERVE OPENLY IN THE MILITARY SERVICES. This “compromise” is BS, don’t fall for it. Don’t let your congressmen, senators or Obama get away with this, call them all and let them know we are not buying this shit piece of legislation.

  17. says

    I see this as a smoke screen. What this states is that they will EVENTUALLY repeal it, but no specific timeline. Servicemembers will continue to be discharged until the repeal. LGBT groups are saying it is progress; they always say that, but the only people they are fooling are themselves. A date needs to be established and then the military has that time to get prepared. The military is suppose to make decisions quickly, aka quick response, but of course that is why wars today seem to last forever, no one can make a decision, they have to discuss it until they are blue in the face; in the mean time, people die (in our case, discharged). A vote and stroke of the pen is all that is needed here. The govemment tells the military they have until the end of the year to get rules in place, in the meantime, all discharges based on sexual orientation are halted. THAT IS A DECISION!

  18. Wayne says

    The House and Senate will pass legislation this year that provides that “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” will be considered repealed if and when the following happens:

    1. The Secretary of Defense receives the “study.”
    2. The President, the Secretary of Defense, and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs certify that:
    – They have considered the recommendations in the study
    – DOD has prepared the necessary policies and regulations needed to implement a repeal
    – The implementation of the repeal is consistent with the standards of military readiness, military effectiveness, unit cohesion, and recruiting and retention.

    Current policy will remain in place until the above conditions are satisfied. And if the above conditions are never satisfied, the current DADT policy will remain in place.

    There is nothing in the legislation that says the repeal must happen.


    P is for PATHETIC!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  19. Gridlock says

    More snake oil from President Retard and his merry band of losers.

    No doubt all the gay orgs are falling over themselves to declare this a major win.

    Barney Frank will tell us to stop whining.

    Another crumb from the table to pacify us.