The Advocate's Kerry Eleveld posted an informative piece last night on the current "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" situation, which indicates that certain gay leaders may have known for months that DADT repeal was off the table for 2010, despite the President' promise in the State of the Union.
Early in the year, multiple sources say some administration officials counseled the president against acting on the militaryâs gay ban in 2010. Still, Obama included his intention to end the policy in his State of the Union address, saying, âThis year, I will work with Congress and our military to finally repeal the lawâ¦â
Yet just days after the January 27 speech, White House officials convened a meeting on February 1 with LGBT advocates in which they said the policy would not be included in the presidentâs recommendations for this year's Department of Defense authorization bill, according to multiple sources with direct knowledge of the meeting.
âIt was a definitive shut-down from [Jim] Messina,â said a source, who was present at the meeting and agreed to speak on the condition of anonymity, referring to the White House deputy chief of staff. âHe said it would not be going into the presidentâs Defense authorization budget proposal.â The news was a blow to activists since the Defense funding bill is the best legislative vehicle for including a measure to overturn the policy. âIt almost seemed like the bar on the hurdle got raised two or three times higher,â said the source.
The White House declined to comment on the meeting.
But the Human Rights Campaignâs David Smith, who also attended the meeting, recalls it differently.
âThey were noncommittal about legislation in that meeting, but not definitively one way or the other,â said Smith, vice president of programs for HRC.
Americablog writes: "Even if David Smith's recollection is more accurate, 'noncommittal'? 'Not one way or the other'? Just five days earlier the President said he was going to have DADT repealed this year. But, by everyone's recollection at this White House meeting, the indications were certainly otherwise. That should have set off alarms. Yet, at the end of February, HRC President Joe Solmonese told his organization's donors at a fundraiser that DADT would be repealed this year. Sounds like his group already had indications to the contrary. The warning signs were there. The White House has played us for fools."
The only solution appears to be to get it done without help from the White House:
"Repeal advocates feel a simultaneous sense of urgency and possibility, since they are only two to three votes away from having the 15 votes necessary to enfold a repeal measure into the DOD authorization bill in the Senate Armed Services Committee. Successfully attaching the measure in committee would put the onus on opponents of repeal to find the 60 votes in order to strip it out on the Senate floor.
'We have 12 to 13 firm votes for repeal,' said Aubrey Sarvis, executive director of Servicemembers Legal Defense Network."
HRC's official position, according to Smith, is that repeal should be underway legislatively at the same time the military conducts its review.