Obama Proposes DADT Compromise

President Obama has endorsed a compromise to pave the way for the repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell.

Under the deal, lawmakers could vote soon to repeal the contentious 17-year-old policy, which bars gay men and lesbians from serving openly in the armed services; the House Democratic leaders are considering taking up the measure as soon as this week. But the policy would not change until sometime after Dec. 1, when the Pentagon completes a review of its readiness to deal with the new policy. President Obama would also be required to certify that repeal would not harm military readiness.

If it passed, the measure could clear the way for gay men and lesbians to serve openly in the military as early next year, ending a policy that Mr. Obama, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates and Adm. Mike Mullen, the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, all say they oppose.

Here is the Committee Amendment that Sen Joe Lieberman is expected to introduce.

< Monday Night TV and Open Thread | Colo. Gov. Signs Bill Reducing Drug Possession Penalties >
  • The Online Magazine with Liberal coverage of crime-related political and injustice news

  • Contribute To TalkLeft

  • Display: Sort:
    I'd prefer an immediate end (5.00 / 1) (#1)
    by andgarden on Mon May 24, 2010 at 08:22:22 PM EST
    But given that there is no chance that there will not be such a certification (right?), I can support this.

    Can we move on to the hard stuff now?

    Green Light (none / 0) (#4)
    by squeaky on Mon May 24, 2010 at 09:11:34 PM EST
    This is going to happen, imo. DADT is not working out for the military, and most want it gone, at this point.

    I agree. I would (none / 0) (#13)
    by KeysDan on Tue May 25, 2010 at 08:51:20 AM EST
    prefer an outright repeal with implementation delayed until a date certain (the Pentagon study is supposed to be completed by the end of the year and its purpose related to implementation).  The conditional repeal, with all the old saws of unit cohesion and everything except shower stuff, and certification by the president, Sec of DOD, and Chair of JCS, is worrisome but it seems to be what is still required to make it happen.

    Good shot at passing (none / 0) (#14)
    by mmc9431 on Tue May 25, 2010 at 09:01:03 AM EST
    This is an ideal DC bill. It appeases the supporters of gay rights while pacifying the right wing by offering nothing other than the privelege to serve your country. What else would you expect from a bill sponsored by Lieberman.

    it will hardly (none / 0) (#16)
    by Capt Howdy on Tue May 25, 2010 at 09:26:43 AM EST
    appease the right wing.  in any respect.

    Pence (none / 0) (#21)
    by Capt Howdy on Tue May 25, 2010 at 10:04:08 AM EST
    On Capitol Hill, the third-ranking House Republican promised unified GOP opposition to lifting the ban. "The American people don't want the American military to be used to advance a liberal political agenda. And House Republicans will stand on that principle," said Mike Pence, R-Ind.

    And this surprises who? (none / 0) (#24)
    by mmc9431 on Tue May 25, 2010 at 10:22:58 AM EST
    On a scale of right wing hard liners, Pence would at least rate a nine! I'd put him right under Glen Beck.

    I remember the initial debate and we were told by the Republicans that we had to listen to the military. Well I'm listening! Are Republicans? Will they be willing to defy the military leadership?


    no one Im sure (none / 0) (#30)
    by Capt Howdy on Tue May 25, 2010 at 10:44:36 AM EST
    was just responding to your comment about pacifying the right wing.  they dont seem pacified  

    True (5.00 / 1) (#36)
    by mmc9431 on Tue May 25, 2010 at 11:08:41 AM EST
    I'm hopeful that the entire Republican party hasn't been over run by the Pence's of the world! I guess I'm just naive. They've taken a stance to fight any and everything that comes up.

    Actually it may serve the Democrats well if the Republicans try to make an issue of this. The country has no problem with it. It may be another issue that magnifies the bigotry within the party.


    I think the repubs (none / 0) (#40)
    by Capt Howdy on Tue May 25, 2010 at 11:31:34 AM EST
    are pretty unanimous in their opposition.  no surprise.  I saw a democrat from the house talking about this yesterday.

    This is a toss up in my opinion (none / 0) (#51)
    by Militarytracy on Tue May 25, 2010 at 12:28:50 PM EST
    They have thrown this into the lap of the military to make the final decision.  How sad, not much of a CIC.  Inspite of having McChrstyal and Petraeus and other military leaders supporting the repeal, we many other leaders claiming that it will be too much of a financial and infrastructure challenge to our military to make such a conversion at this time if ever.  If they do anything, they will stick the implementation of a repeal way out there on a timeline...perhaps six years out.  That way the Democrats kept their promise but the military doesn't have to implement anything that would distract them from the current mission for a very long time.  And leaves the door open for the repeal to be lifted as well.

    No benefits for partners allowed! (5.00 / 2) (#2)
    by mmc9431 on Mon May 24, 2010 at 08:31:53 PM EST
    Yes it's a step in the right direction but a long way from where it should be.

    Symbolic Victory (5.00 / 2) (#8)
    by mmc9431 on Tue May 25, 2010 at 07:34:30 AM EST
    For gays, but in many ways it's a slap in the face. Yes you'll be "allowed" to serve your country, but you'll still be a second class citizen at best. The bill specifies that it will not conflict with DOMA. I don't believe the military even acknowledges straight couples that aren't legally married.

    I hope Military Tracy comments on the list of benefits that can still be denied to gay personnel.

    I still don't agree with Obama that gay equality has to be done at the grass root level and work it's way up. It needs the federal government (the nations largest employer) to take the lead.

    I'll sit by the window to watch for the (5.00 / 2) (#9)
    by Anne on Tue May 25, 2010 at 08:09:54 AM EST
    flying pigs, if someone else can let us know when hell freezes over...

    It will be one hedge after another, with plenty of we-really-really-want-to-do-this-but...for why it can't happen.

    cool (5.00 / 1) (#17)
    by Capt Howdy on Tue May 25, 2010 at 09:27:42 AM EST
    we will be sure to let you know.  looks like next year.

    Everything's starting to look like (none / 0) (#23)
    by Anne on Tue May 25, 2010 at 10:17:45 AM EST
    "next year," isn't it?

    The solutions are always just around that next bend - or election - aren't they?

    And some of them have three election cycles to go before they happen.  If they happen.

    Maybe it is being delayed until after the election to be the bright, shiny object that diverts attention away from the report of the Deficit (Cat Food) Commission, also due to be unveiled - in a sort of not-transparent way - around the same time.

    From The Nieman Watchdog

    President Obama and the leadership in Congress have delegated enormous, unaccountable authority to 18 unrepresentative, inordinately wealthy individuals. The 18 individuals are meeting regularly, in secret, behind closed doors, until safely beyond this year's mid-term election. If they reach agreement, their proposal will be voted on in December by a lame duck Congress, without the benefit of open hearings and deliberations in the pertinent committees and without the opportunity for open debate and amendment on the floors of the House and Senate. Despite the speed and lack of accountability, the legislation will affect, in substantial ways, every man, woman, and child in this nation.

    [h/t to letsgetitdone at Corrente.


    11th dimensional chess? (5.00 / 3) (#28)
    by CST on Tue May 25, 2010 at 10:29:48 AM EST
    Or maybe it's being delayed, cuz you know, that's when the military review will be done.

    As it is, Gates is "lukewarm" on this proposal because it is getting the ball rolling before the review is done.  The only reason he isn't "ice cold" is that it will happen after the review.

    But yea, it must be because of some completely unrelated deficit commission.

    Sometimes I feel like if pigs actually flew out of Obama's @ss you'd ask why they weren't unicorns.


    My point, actually, was that there've (none / 0) (#35)
    by Anne on Tue May 25, 2010 at 11:04:58 AM EST
    been any number of issues important to the regular, ordinary people, that have been delayed, postponed or back-burnered; there's always some reason why something has to be "later," except when the benefit to the power structure is greater than the possible detriment, and then it moves like lightning.

    This DADT issue has been alive and kicking for some time now, but I guess what you're telling me is that there is nothing Obama can do to speed it up.

    Okay, then.  


    the pentagon has asked for the time (5.00 / 1) (#38)
    by Capt Howdy on Tue May 25, 2010 at 11:11:19 AM EST
    to finish whatever it is they are doing.   you are suggesting he should just overrule them.

    if he did Im sure you would have something to say about that like "Emperor Obama" or something.

    this DADT thing is a big deal.  I never expected it to go away in my lifetime.  

    I can wait until December.


    Until these changes help my pocket book (none / 0) (#41)
    by mmc9431 on Tue May 25, 2010 at 11:36:06 AM EST
    I'm going to wait and reserve judgement until the details are finalized. The initial bill isn't encouraging. It seems like it's going to be constructed to block any chance of real equality.

    I don't need the government's condescending acceptance of my relationship. I want access to pension rights, social security and all the other social and safety nets afforded straight couples.

    This bill doesn't read like a path in that direction.


    Does the federal government offer (none / 0) (#50)
    by oculus on Tue May 25, 2010 at 12:13:16 PM EST
    any benefits, such as health care coverage, to same sex partners if one partner is a federal employee?

    The State Dept (5.00 / 1) (#54)
    by Emma on Tue May 25, 2010 at 04:45:10 PM EST
    The State Department extends benefits to domestic partners.

    No comparison (none / 0) (#56)
    by mmc9431 on Tue May 25, 2010 at 08:59:43 PM EST
    There's a world of difference in clerking at the Dept. of Commerce and being in the military. You're almost an indentured servant, They own you lock stock and barrel 24/7.

    How many career military people would be there if their was no benefit package for their dependants? Not many.

    Just as they've realized in many companies in the private sector, if you want to retain quality people, you need to offer them an incentive.


    Remind me again - who is the (none / 0) (#42)
    by Anne on Tue May 25, 2010 at 11:41:20 AM EST

    I'm not sure, but I think it's that guy, um, wait - you know, oooh, it's right on the tip of my tongue...

    Obama's made plenty of decisions regarding the military, detainees, military prisons, and so on, that I absolutely do not agree with.  Many of these decisions were in direct opposition to what his stated positions were.

    He has a pattern of "supporting" things strongly at first, then more tepidly, then handing it off to be decided in a way that doesn't particularly involve him, and then shrugging his shoulders when it doesn't happen.  Is he using the Pentagon to avoid making the decision himself?  I guess we'll see.

    Just because you never expected to see it repealed in your lifetime doesn't mean you shouldn't be holding accountable those who said they would make it happen.


    it's not that there is (none / 0) (#37)
    by CST on Tue May 25, 2010 at 11:10:38 AM EST
    "nothing Obama can do".  Obviously he could do it faster if he wanted to but he chose to go this route with the military review.

    It's more like - the simplest answer is usually the right one.


    This has been dubbed (none / 0) (#25)
    by KeysDan on Tue May 25, 2010 at 10:27:45 AM EST
    "The Cat Food Commission".

    Nonetheless, a step forward (5.00 / 2) (#15)
    by mcl on Tue May 25, 2010 at 09:17:52 AM EST
    If memory serves, 17 years ago the Pentagon opposed this kind of change with frenzied ferocity. Today the generals quietly support it.

    Things are improving, albeit slowly.

    no way (5.00 / 1) (#20)
    by CST on Tue May 25, 2010 at 09:38:29 AM EST
    this isn't going to happen.

    As BTD would say, pols are pols.  80% of the American public wants this, the people in charge of the military want this.  They would have to be complete idiots not to do it.

    Not all military leadership wants this (none / 0) (#57)
    by Militarytracy on Wed May 26, 2010 at 08:13:44 AM EST
    And if they are going to base this on a "study", they've already looked at it and the specific housing and deployment problems this poses.  My spouse says the only way to deal with it and avoid the chaos is to make all deployed housing situations and areas coed and an embraced universal standard for what constitutes sexual harrassment.  The past study on what repealing DADT will cost the military to implement and cover all of its legal responsibility bases was pretty staggering.  I only give this a 50/50 chance given the current deficit and it will actually take place around 2016.

    You're the Commander-in-Chief (5.00 / 2) (#39)
    by Dadler on Tue May 25, 2010 at 11:14:26 AM EST
    Just do it.  The military, as a thoroughly anti-imaginative institution, needs to be pushed on this issue.  Push it. Get it done.  You think Generals who read "Three Cups of Tea" and realized, decades after they should have, that it's the right way in these kinds of conflicts, are going to give you forward thinking policy in this area?

    Just. Do. It.

    There's no indication Obama proposed it (none / 0) (#3)
    by gyrfalcon on Mon May 24, 2010 at 09:06:32 PM EST
    From what I read, this was Carl Levin's idea.

    Still it's good news-- finally.  Don't know why somebody couldn't have thought of this a year ago.

    The pro-appeal people have been suggesting (5.00 / 1) (#10)
    by MO Blue on Tue May 25, 2010 at 08:36:35 AM EST
    something along this line for some time. Servicemembers United (pdf)proposed a version of this in 2009. It had "Set End-date / Delayed Implementation" which this compromise does not have. Adam Bink has post which goes into the background and difference between original proposal and current compromise.

    Set end date" would set a date certain for the policy to be lifted- in the proposed case, 60 days after the review to prepare directives, and then another 60 days to implement the regulations. This "deal" does not set such a date but rather requires the President, SecDef, and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs to certify they have received the report and it does not adversely impact cohesion etc., then implement the new regulations scrapping the policy.

    i.e. after election day (none / 0) (#5)
    by diogenes on Mon May 24, 2010 at 10:09:41 PM EST
    "But the policy would not change until sometime after Dec. 1..."

    Or, perhaps, after Hillary Clinton becomes (none / 0) (#7)
    by oculus on Tue May 25, 2010 at 12:35:08 AM EST
    Secretary of Defense?

    Or, Joe Lieberman (none / 0) (#11)
    by KeysDan on Tue May 25, 2010 at 08:42:55 AM EST
    true (none / 0) (#19)
    by CST on Tue May 25, 2010 at 09:30:42 AM EST
    it would be after the next election day.

    Which is actually be worse for Dems, since 8 out of 10 Americans support the repeal.  That's probably why congress wants to vote on it now, so they can come out in support of a popular plan before the election.


    Key word IMO is (none / 0) (#27)
    by MO Blue on Tue May 25, 2010 at 10:29:33 AM EST

    Not going to happen (none / 0) (#6)
    by Emma on Tue May 25, 2010 at 12:31:15 AM EST
    No way DADT gets repealed during Obama's term, regardless of the amount of "road paving" everybody else does for him.

    I'll take (5.00 / 1) (#18)
    by Capt Howdy on Tue May 25, 2010 at 09:28:18 AM EST
    that bet.  

    A "triggered" repeal? (none / 0) (#12)
    by MO Blue on Tue May 25, 2010 at 08:48:00 AM EST
    This isn't repeal. This is repeal with a trigger.

    And the trigger is in the hand of the President, along with his Secretary of Defense and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Who do you think holds the whip hand on military matters there?

    Everything remains exactly the same:

        Section 654 of title 10, United States Code, shall remain in effect until such time that all of the requirements and certifications required by subsection (b) are met. If these requirements and certifications are not met, section 654 of title 10, United States Code, shall remain in effect. link

    heh (none / 0) (#22)
    by Capt Howdy on Tue May 25, 2010 at 10:07:46 AM EST
    Lieberman "DADT Repeal" Sham Cedes Civilian Control to Military

    good ole reliable FDL


    Well, it's a little uh, ornate (none / 0) (#26)
    by lilburro on Tue May 25, 2010 at 10:27:58 AM EST
    but overall positive.  I am trying to figure out if the way it is written means it is reversible by the executive order of another President.  

    Other questions (5.00 / 1) (#29)
    by lilburro on Tue May 25, 2010 at 10:42:48 AM EST
    the AP says:

    If Congress approves the repeal, it would still take several years before gays and lesbians could serve openly while the Pentagon writes a policy based on its review.

    Again, I think this is positive, but it's unclear to me how this plays out exactly, and how/when the policy gets written.  It also apparently does not include a non-discrimination policy per se.


    why on earth (none / 0) (#31)
    by CST on Tue May 25, 2010 at 10:49:45 AM EST
    should it take years to write that policy?  They took less than a year to write a bajillion different versions of health care "reform".

    That's really not acceptable.


    it also says this (none / 0) (#32)
    by Capt Howdy on Tue May 25, 2010 at 10:52:41 AM EST
    According to one person familiar with the White House meeting, the proposal that is being considered would legislatively repeal the statute this year, but the current policy would remain in place and implementation of repeal would not occur until after the Pentagon's working group study is finished in December.

    I think the question is (none / 0) (#33)
    by lilburro on Tue May 25, 2010 at 10:55:49 AM EST
    is there a difference between the current Pentagon study and the writing of a new policy?

    I would repeat what CST said (none / 0) (#34)
    by Capt Howdy on Tue May 25, 2010 at 10:59:17 AM EST
    why on earth would they do that?

    have you seen this anywhere else?


    Um (none / 0) (#44)
    by jbindc on Tue May 25, 2010 at 11:54:23 AM EST
    Because after December we will be in a presidential election cycle.  The Liberal Dems can say "look we did something!" and the conserva dens can say "hasn't happened yet so don't hold it against me"

    why would they delay it?  To play both sides of the political fence.


    80% support repeal (none / 0) (#45)
    by CST on Tue May 25, 2010 at 11:56:33 AM EST
    there is no significant other side of the political fence.

    Poll? (none / 0) (#48)
    by coast on Tue May 25, 2010 at 12:08:07 PM EST
    Can't find a poll showing the 80%.  See many where the majority feel it should be repealed, but nothing in the 80% range.  Link?

    I linked to it (none / 0) (#49)
    by CST on Tue May 25, 2010 at 12:10:53 PM EST
    in comment 19 of this thread.  And sorry, it's 78% not 80%.  My bad.

    Here you go again.  Link.


    Thanks (none / 0) (#55)
    by coast on Tue May 25, 2010 at 06:59:01 PM EST
    Sorry I did not see it in earlier post.

    Well (none / 0) (#46)
    by lilburro on Tue May 25, 2010 at 12:02:55 PM EST
    having read the wording of the amendment, my take is that the Review that ends in Dec. is going to be pretty comprehensive.  So there is no good reason why the military could not be prepared in early 2011 to implement a policy.  But the repeal doesn't just automatically kick in when the Review is over.  And I think that is (reasonably) the source of attention of gay activists who are pleased but whose work is not yet over.  In the words of Richard Socarides:

    "I am concerned, however, that the bill released tonight is being mis-characterized. I was expecting to see a bill providing for repeal of DADT now with delayed implementation. As far as I can tell, the proposed legislation instead makes repeal conditional on a future discretionary certification which may or may not occur.

    "It may be the best we can get, and if so, I say let's grab it. But it is not repeal with delayed implementation. It's conditional future repeal."

    Now, having heard tons of BS from all governmental parties involved vis a vis addressing this issue I think it is reasonable that some are viewing this as a bit less than a promise.  Technically, it is.  So I personally support the legislation but also get the attitude of "you (the Admin, the Pentagon) better take this sh*t seriously and get it done ASAP."  Because there is plenty enough documentation out there that the Admin/military won't do anything without adequate and sustained pressure.

    Still - yesterday was a good, good day.


    From what I've read, I agree with this (none / 0) (#52)
    by MO Blue on Tue May 25, 2010 at 12:43:02 PM EST
    As far as I can tell, the proposed legislation instead makes repeal conditional on a future discretionary certification which may or may not occur....But it is not repeal with delayed implementation. It's conditional future repeal."

    IMO for the repeal to actually happen, activists will have to make it clear that all future support for Obama and the party is conditional on full repeal and implementation prior to the 2012 elections.


    John Arivosis (none / 0) (#43)
    by standingup on Tue May 25, 2010 at 11:54:08 AM EST
    came to this conclusion:
    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.
    See his post for the conditions he summarizes from the text of the ammendment. This seems to be consistent with the letter Lieberman, Levin and Murphy sent to the President (copy available at Americablog Gay. The last paragraph, emphasis added:
    Given the important efforts of the working group, we have developed a legislative proposal for consideration by the House and Senate that puts a process in place to repeal "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," once the working group has completed its review and you, the Secretary of Defense, and the Chariman of the Joint Chiefs certify that repeal can be achieved consistent with the military's standards of readiness, effectiveness, unit cohesion, and recruiting and retention. We appreciate the input that you and the Pentagon have provided throughout this process and request the Administration's official views on our legislative proposal.
    Does this proposed legislation truly change anything?

    The proposed legislation (none / 0) (#47)
    by lilburro on Tue May 25, 2010 at 12:06:17 PM EST
    is necessary but it is up to activists to help shape what the new policies ought to look like.  The Admin in Orszag's letter is inviting the participation of the "military and their families" in shaping the policy which is good.  Although a catch-22 for currently serving members, but, you know, still good.