Ellen Tauscher Hub

Gay Iraq Vet Anthony Woods Defeated in Bid for Tauscher Seat

Anthony Woods, the gay Iraq war veteran who hoped to take Ellen Tauscher's seat in a special Democratic primary election, did not prevail, unfortunately.

Politico: Woods "With all precincts reporting, Garamendi won 26 percent of the all-party special election vote, leading all candidates. Democratic state senator Mark DeSaulnier finished second among Democrats with 17 percent, state Assemblywoman Joan Buchanan tallied 12 percent and Iraq war veteran Anthony Woods won eight percent.' I have represented every part of this district for the past 10-1/2 years,' Garamendi told the Contra Costa Times. 'The people of this district understood that I knew the issues that they cared about and that I could be a good and forceful representative.' Garamendi will be the heavy favorite in a November 3 special election runoff against Republican attorney David Harmer, who finished with 21 percent of the vote in the 14-candidate field. All the Democratic candidates combined for 65 percent of the vote – the same vote total President Obama received in last year’s presidential election – while Republicans only comprised 35 percent of the electorate."

Rep. Patrick Murphy to Take Lead on Military Gay Ban Repeal


Iraq Veteran Patrick Murphy will take the lead in advancing legislation to overturn the military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy when Rep. Ellen Tauscher moves to the State Department to be President Obama's Undersecretary of State for Arms Control and International Security, Talking Points Memo reports:

"There's major symbolic significance to that move. Murphy is a member of the House Armed Services Committee and, more importantly, a Bronze Star winner and the first Iraq war veteran to serve in Congress."

Towleroad readers may also remember Murphy's thrashing of the anti-gay Center for Military Readiness' Elaine Donnelly at hearings before the House Armed Services Committee in July 2008. If not, I've re-posted it, AFTER THE  JUMP...

Donnelly recently rounded up a group of 1,000 anti-gay retired military officers to get behind her bigoted crusade to stop the repeal of the military's gay ban.

Continue reading "Rep. Patrick Murphy to Take Lead on Military Gay Ban Repeal" »

Obama Begins Consultation of Advisors on 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell'


Obama has begun consulting his advisors on repealing the military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy, according to a statement from the White House which offers no time frame and doesn't say whether a commission will be named to further study it.

Dadt2 AP: "The move enables Obama to say he's making good on his campaign promise to reverse the law, but doesn't lock him into doing so anytime soon. The carefully calculated statement, released this week by White House spokesman Tommy Vietor, leaves enough wiggle room to prevent the hot-button issue from consuming Obama's foreign policy agenda, which is dominated by ending the Iraq war and salvaging operations in Afghanistan. 'The president supports changing 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell,' Vietor said in the e-mailed statement. 'As part of a long-standing pledge,' Obama has begun consulting closely with Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Adm. Michael Mullen 'so that this change is done in a sensible way that strengthens our armed forces and our national security,' Vietor said."

This week, Rep. Ellen Tauscher re-introduced legislation to repeal the ban.

In February, Obama said more assessment was needed before the ban could be repealed, a statement that was rebutted by Servicemembers Legal Defense Network executive director Aubrey Sarvis, who cited the "long line of reports" disputing the ban's effectiveness that began 21 years ago, as well as the hundreds of military figures who have come out against it.

A new book by researcher Nathaniel Frank which investigates the extremely flawed roots of the flawed policy was released this week. Towleroad published details of the book earlier this week in which Frank reveals that creators of the policy had no empirical data and made up the conclusions that lead to the creation of the policy.

Rachel Maddow interviewed Frank about the book last night. Watch it, AFTER THE JUMP...

Rep. Ellen Tauscher on 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' [tr]
Military Suppressed Evidence Critical of Gay Ban, Says Author [tr]
Politico: Bill Repealing Military Gay Ban to Be Introduced Today [tr]

Continue reading "Obama Begins Consultation of Advisors on 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell'" »

Rep. Ellen Tauscher on 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell'

Think Progress did an interview with Rep. Ellen Tauscher today following her announcement that she is re-introducing legislation to end the military's failed "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy.

Tauscher Said Tauscher: "I think that there’s, a lot has happened since 1993 and I think that even though the atmospherics look the same, a brand new president, you know, at a time when the Republicans are critical of whatever he’s doing, I think that what our job is is to inform people about the current state of affairs. And that is that 75 percent of the American people believe that this is the wrong policy."

Yesterday I posted a preview of Nathaniel Frank's new book which promises insight into the flawed thinking and the perpetuation of the military's failed policy.

Watch the interview, AFTER THE JUMP...

Tauscher: ‘A Lot Has Happened Since 1993,’ Time Is Right To Repeal Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell [think progress]

Continue reading "Rep. Ellen Tauscher on 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell'" »

Military Suppressed Evidence Critical of Gay Ban, Says Author

Earlier today I posted that Rep. Ellen Tauscher would be introducing a bill to repeal "Don't Ask Don't Tell". I've learned that because of the snow storm that crippled the east coast last night and into today, she'll be formally introducing it on Tuesday.

Unfriendlyfire Tauscher made her announcement today at the Washington D.C. book launch of Nathaniel Frank's new book Unfriendly Fire: How the Gay Ban Undermines the Military and Weakens America. Frank, a Senior Research Fellow at the Palm Center at UC Santa Barbara, broke the story of the firing of gay Arabic linguists under the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy.

Frank's book is a companion to an upcoming PBS film I recently mentioned called Ask Not which features many of the same soldiers talking about life under the ban. Frank has also launched a web campaign to buy a book for every member of Congress, which you can join on his website.

I asked Frank if I could share some of the findings in his book, which has been lauded by the Servicemember's Legal Defense Network (SLDN), with Towleroad readers, among them that evidence has repeatedly been concealed or suppressed by the military when it concluded there was no rationale for the gay ban.

Here are the book's main points, according to Frank:

 road In behind-the-scenes negotiations about the question of gay service, senior military officers who viewed the gay ban as a moral imperative consulted with military and civilian religious leaders on a dishonest strategy to claim the ban was necessary to preserve “unit cohesion” while minimizing the true religious and cultural basis of their opposition.

 road General Robert Alexander, the first head of the Military Working Group, a panel of generals and admirals that essentially wrote “don’t ask, don’t tell,” acknowledged that its members did not understand what “sexual orientation” meant, and “had to define in the first few sessions what we figured they were talking about.” Alexander admits that the MWG “thought they knew the results of what was going to happen” before they met, and that it was “going to be very difficult to get an objective, rational review” of the policy. “Passion leads and rationale follows,” he says, adding that his group “didn’t have any empirical data” about gay service and the MWG position was based on fear, politics and prejudice.

Continued, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Military Suppressed Evidence Critical of Gay Ban, Says Author" »

Politico: Bill Repealing Military Gay Ban to Be Introduced Today

Politico reports that legislation is to be introduced today calling for the repeal of the military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy: "On Monday, buoyed by a stronger Democratic majority in Congress, Rep. Ellen O. Tauscher (D-Calif.) will introduce legislation to overturn the ban against homosexuals serving openly in the military, a Tauscher aide said."

Tauscher Tauscher is the lead sponsor of The Military Readiness Enhancement Act, a role she took over from Congressman Martin Meehan. It was first introduced in the 109th Congress. Meehan reintroduced the bill in February 2007, during the 110th Congress. The bill currently has 144 bipartisan co-sponsors. It seeks to repeal the military's failed "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy, replacing it with language prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation in the armed forces.

In late February, the Servicemember's Legal Defense Network (SLDN) urged Defense Secretary Robert Gates to repeal the failed policy in response to a report that the Pentagon announced a new recruitment goal of 1,000 immigrants in the United States on temporary visas, over the next 12 months.

Said Aubrey Sarvis, executive director of SLDN: "It is ironic that the Pentagon is beginning a program to actively recruit legal immigrants but continues to exclude citizens who are capable, tough, and dedicated service members ready and willing to serve their country. We should be enlisting men and women in this country - as long as they're qualified - wherever we can find them."

In early February, Obama said that more analysis was necessary before the ban could be repealed, a statement rebutted by Sarvis, who cited the long list of reports that have shown DADT to be a fialed policy, and the hundreds of prominent military personnel who have come out against the ban.

Watch an interview by SLDN with Rep. Tauscher that was conducted last July,


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