As gay activists protest the selection of evangelical megapastor Rick Warren to give the inaugural invocation, they could have reason to cheer a future Obama announcement. Sources tell NEWSWEEK that the president-elect is considering the appointment of the first openly gay chief of a military branch.
Bill White, president of the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum in New York, is being backed by congressional and former military leaders to be the next secretary of the Navy. Among White’s vocal supporters are retired Gen. Hugh Shelton, a former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Rep. Jerrold Nadler, a New York Democrat whose district includes the newly renovated Intrepid museum which sits on an aircraft carrier in the Hudson River. Nadler says members of Obama’s transition team have reached out to him about White. “They’re clearly vetting him,” he tells NEWSWEEK.
Naturally, this has people making predictable responses from both sides:
Supporters of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” have said that nominating White would send the wrong signal. “It’s a matter of judgment, and I think that would be very poor judgment on the part of the commander in chief,” Elaine Donnelly, president of the Center for Military Readiness, told The Washington Times, which first reported the White rumors. Meanwhile, in a statement released by the Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s largest gay advocacy group, President Joe Solmonese said White’s nomination would be a “concrete demonstration” that the Obama administration sees “no place” for employment discrimination in government. “President-elect Obama has said both during his time in the Senate and on the campaign trail that overturning ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ was a priority for him, but he’s also been straightforward and realistic that this is a measure that’s going to require a great deal of strategy,” Solmonese tells NEWSWEEK. “The consideration of this appointment certainly bodes well for keeping with Obama’s commitment to address this issue.”
There is something kind of creepy about Donnelly making those comments to a newspaper owned by a fascist cult leader who openly says that when he rules the world the gays will be “purged.”