I don’t see why this is a matter of legislation.

President-elect Barack Obama will not move for months, and perhaps not until 2010, to ask Congress to end the military’s decades-old ban on open homosexuals in the ranks, two people who have advised the Obama transition team on this issue say.

Repealing the ban was an Obama campaign promise. However, Mr. Obama first wants to confer with the Joint Chiefs of Staff and his new political appointees at the Pentagon to reach a consensus and then present legislation to Congress, the advisers said.



  1. #1 Romeo Vitelli
    November 22, 2008

    We already know what his stand on gay marriage is. Barry had better be giving the GLTBs something important.

  2. #2 Doug Alder
    November 23, 2008

    People keep forgetting that first and foremost he’s a politician. a creature that by sheer definition means corrupt. Second he’s very much a centrist, in no way a liberal. He only appears to be liberal because everything has shifted so far to the extreme right under GOP administrations since Reagan that anyone to the left of Attila the Hun appears to be a flaming liberal. It’s not that I don’t hold out hope that Obama’s administration will do some good, it’s just that I won’t be overly surprised if it’s business as usual. So far his appointees have been for the most part disappointing choices.

  3. #3 Greg Laden
    November 23, 2008

    Doug: I am a hard left Liberal, I voted for Obama, and I like him, and I totally agree with you about his politics.

    I’m just happy to have a guy in charge who is not an unabashed moron and who will surround himself mainly with smart people, and not be threatened by those people!

  4. #4 Art
    November 23, 2008

    I think it would be good to end the ban. Kicking qualified people out because of which way their genitals point doesn’t make much sense and doesn’t make the military any stronger.

    On the other hand Clinton was forever after labeled as anti-military because of his imposition of the DADT policy. This became the seldom spoken of irrational kernel of the claim of his supposed anti-military stance. Once the label was applied every action thereafter was viewed as an underhanded attempt to gut the military.

    If Obama does it he needs to have someone else lead the charge and take credit. Having the military itself lament the loss of much needed and capable gay soldiers and specifically request that the discharge of soldiers based on sexual orientation be eliminated would be the way to go. Eliminate the grounds for discharge and the DADT policy, a familiar name and white hot issue in the evangelical community, becomes moot. But it can’t be seen as coming from Obama.

    Citation of the needs for national defense and the willingness of some general grade officers to fall on their swords in political theater might just make it palatable enough for the right to stay quiet.

  5. #5 Joel
    November 23, 2008

    Extremely disappointing, but not surprising in the least.

    Apparently it’s, change, when it’s best for Obama.

  6. #6 Patti
    November 23, 2008

    Geez Louise! The poor guy hasn’t even taken the oath of office yet, and already we’re whining about what hasn’t been accomplished yet.

    Gay rights is a VERY BIG deal to me – my daughter’s been “going steady” with a lovely young woman whom I’d love to have as my daughter-in-law someday.

    But, I think we need some long-term perspective here. Lets fix the economy, get healthcare and energy initiatives rolling, and most of important, get those gay and straight troops home!

    I agree with Art – like it or not, this is an emotionally sensitive issue for many people, people who are generally not on our side to begin with. I don’t want a hasty solution that leads to even more backlash and bigotry. Maybe I’m being too accomodating, but I think slow and steady is called for here.

    I’ve got my qualms about various decisions and policies of the new administration, but I voted for the guy, so I’m at least going to give him a chance to work things out. He’s got enough wingnuts whining about his every move, without me adding to the noise.

    I’m sure Obama will bring out the magic wand and fairy dust on January 20th.

    Until then, can I haz more Kool-Aid, plz? Kaithxbai!

  7. #7 Joel
    November 24, 2008

    Patti, why don’t I plant a big freaking refrigerator on your toe and then come up with a list of all the things I’m going to do before I get around to taking it off?

    Maybe that will put a little perspective on your slow and steady?

  8. #8 marilove
    November 24, 2008

    Considering Bush wants to make it so some birth control is seen as abortion, and to get rid of the protection of endangered species, I think Obama has a lot on his plate the first year or two he is in office. Don’t panic yet.

  9. #9 Art
    November 24, 2008

    I realize that the situation for gays in the military is difficult and painful. I’m also aware that Obama, as CinC, could simply order the change in policy. The military would give him a curt ‘yes, sir’ and snappy salute and comply for the most part.

    I’m also aware that any such change imposed from without on the military is going to lead to latent resentment and passive-aggressive resistance. Resistance that will remain in place for the duration of the administration.

    I’m also aware that any such surface change would be reversed as soon as a right-wing administration came into office.

    What is needed is a deep organic change within the military. High ranking officers will need to come forward and apply steady pressure to make the majority of the people in the nation and within the military see that the present system is broken. That it isn’t just the gays suffering. Fact being that gays suffering has never been an issue. It is when the consequences of injustice slop over into the lives of suburban upper class whites that attitudes change and things get done.

    When the larger population understands that booting the gays out of the military is: crippling our military efforts, weakening national defense, and compromising our ability to keep terrorist at bay; then the people will accept change.

    Word is that we don’t have even a single brigade available for deployment. All of them are occupied.

    Then consider that if you put all the gays kicked out into a unit they would amount to most of a brigade. That is your spare brigade. The issue of gays in the military is the difference in having enough troops or not.

    If the change is made by executive order it will be resented and reversed. If this opens up a deeper discussion and the issue is seen as an issue of national defense then your going to see long-term change.

    Marines in WW2 had maintained separate black support units. When it was seen that blacks were fighting and bleeding and dying acting as front line troops, at a time when there was a shortage of front line troops, the separate system was eliminated. It was not eliminated because it would help the blacks or to support civil rights generally. It was eliminated because it served the interests of the marine corp.

    Don’t frame this issue as a question of what we can do to help the poor suffering gays. Frame it in terms of what gays can do for the military and the nation. Let the opponents fight against the idea that they care less about national defense. That they are religiously motivated extremists who are willing to compromise the national defense of the United States of America, and expose the American people to possible terrorist attack, to pursue their extremist sectarian agenda of hounding these patriotic American fighting men out of the military.

    ** cue ‘National Anthem’ on PA **
    ** cue fireworks, RW&B bunting and balloon drop **
    ** cue marching band **
    ** cue flag majorettes **
    ** cue baton twirlers **

    ** cue army parachute team **

    At fade of NA:
    ** cue “God Bless America” on PA **

    Last bar:
    ** cue AF low-level fly over **

    Work this from the military side first. Identify it with national defense and patriotism. And then … GO BIG to build momentum. Don’t give the rubes time to think. Push a big media play of gays, cross dressers and transgendered soldiers and marines who were wounded or died in combat saving the nation from Nazis, dictators and religious fundamentalists.

    Let Obama hang back and then, seemingly with some reticence and only at the demand of the nation, have him sign the paper making the change into law.

    If your going to win your going to have to play the game of politics and media manipulation well and hard.

  10. #10 Patti
    November 24, 2008

    Wow, Art, that’s quite a sexy brain you’ve got there! Nuanced thinking is so HOT!

    Wanna’ come over and ice my toe for me?

  11. #11 the real Obamafactor
    November 24, 2008

    Yeah, but at least we can shut everybody up who said Amerikka would never elect a “black” president. Now that we got one that’s whiter than most rednecks, we can all sit back and enjoy the fray, as he backs off of promise after promise ( for instance, he isn’t going to repeal Bushies tax cuts on the over $250,000 set until–maybe–2011).

    RThen, we can look forward to a “woman” president who is a bigger prick than any dick who came before her, and it will be back to busines as usual in the election year promise breaking game.

    and Joel: where DID you get that packet of refrigerator seeds? There’s nothing like that in my Mother Earth news catalogue!

  12. #12 Romeo Vitelli
    November 24, 2008

    “Marines in WW2 had maintained separate black support units. When it was seen that blacks were fighting and bleeding and dying acting as front line troops, at a time when there was a shortage of front line troops, the separate system was eliminated. It was not eliminated because it would help the blacks or to support civil rights generally. It was eliminated because it served the interests of the marine corp.”

    Actually, desegregation occurred through an executive order by Harry Truman in 1948 (the US wasn’t at war at the time). It took years to complete desegregation which was why there were still segregated troops in the first part of the Korean war. A black lieutenant was sentenced to death in 1950 for refusing a white officer’s order although this was later commuted to a prison sentence. Racism took time to be dealt with in the military but it was done from the top down.

  13. #13 Joel
    November 24, 2008

    Art, your entire argument is old and tired and it’s a damn good thing that Truman didn’t listen to people like you when he desegregated the military in 1948.

    Acceptance of Gay People in Military Grows Dramatically

    By Kyle Dropp and Jon Cohen
    Washington Post Staff Writers
    Saturday, July 19, 2008; A03

    Public attitudes about gays in the military have shifted dramatically since President Bill Clinton unveiled what became his administration’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy 15 years ago today.

    Seventy-five percent of Americans in a new Washington Post-ABC News poll said gay people who are open about their sexual orientation should be allowed to serve in the U.S. military, up from 62 percent in early 2001 and 44 percent in 1993.

    Majorities of Democrats, Republicans and independents alike now believe it is acceptable for openly gay people to serve in the U.S. armed forces. Shortly after he took office in 1993, Clinton faced strong resistance to his campaign pledge to lift the military’s ban on allowing gay people to enlist. At that time, 67 percent of Republicans and 75 percent of conservatives opposed the idea. A majority of independents, 56 percent, and 45 percent of Democrats also opposed changing the policy.


    How long do you want us to play this waiting game? Would you feel better with another 15 years? 20? 50? 100?

  14. #14 Patti
    November 25, 2008

    Joel, I’m on your side, really I am. I apologize if I was a little too glib.

    I don’t WANT you to have to wait another minute.

    Maybe progress isn’t being made quickly enough – I hate that DADT and Prop8 and all that other hateful stuff is still an issue. In absolute terms, I think its disgusting that people still think there’s valid arguments for the other side.

    On a personal note, right now, I’m having a very difficult time even talking to my parents, because it infuriates me that they voted for Arizona’s gay marriage ban, and what that means for their granddaughter. My daughter hasn’t told them about her girlfriend – she’s not ready to out herself to them, even though I’ve told her “F&*% ’em – if they can’t deal, its their loss!” But its her decision when to tell them.

    On the other hand, I’m terrified about the ugly attitudes that she has to deal with. She attends a two-year college in a very tiny, redneck town where there have been severe attacks against gay people (physical assaults with the victims ending up in the hospital). The one black student in her school has been the target of some very hateful “pranks” over the past two years, to the point that it has affected his grades, not to mention his mental well-being. During the last few weeks, the abuse has escalated.

    I’m anxiously counting the days until she can move back home to finish her degree here in the civilized, liberal city where we live.

    Bigotry is scary sh&*, and I’m frankly scared sh*&less sometimes – I don’t want to lose my only child. I agree with you on core principles, I just have a difference of opinion on the best course of action to bring about the society we both long for. I’m not your enemy, “They” are.