Recent DADT news may sound like political jargon. Let me offer a translation that’s a little less overwhelming.
In the past President Obama has been able to garner LGBTQ support because of his statements on DADT without technically taking any action. An aide in February even went so far to say that repeal is not a priority this year. Though long overdue, he now, formally, supports repeal.
The Department of Defense has also refused to take a more than an (arguably) objective stance on the policy. Until now. Robert Gates, Secretary of Defense, recently issued a statement supporting the amendment that would repeal DADT this year and implement a policy of nondiscrimination next year. In other words, DOD is on board too.
Likewise, Congress, who is ultimately responsible for repealing DADT, has been indecisive in the past. This ambivalence has been due to overwhelming public support of the repeal contrary to military opinion (keeping the ban in place) while the Pentagon and White House opinion have fallen somewhere between these two ends of the spectrum. But with the recent announcements from President Obama and Secretary of Defense Gates, both Executive and DOD leadership have shifted their weight from this awkward political balance onto a concrete platform advocating repeal.
Furthermore, indecisive members of Congress may no longer voice indecision if the repeal is include in the Defense Authorization Bill, which goes before Congress this week and must be passed every year. It outlines the Department of Defense’s budget. It cannot be killed, simply amended until it inevitably passes. The likelihood of getting DADT repealed increases by including it on this particular bill, which will win over Congress members who may indecisive about DADT but approve the defense budget otherwise.
Rachel Maddow talks to Rep Patrick Murphy, one of the drafters of the repeal amendment
The stars of repeal have aligned. Support from President Obama, approval from the Department of Defense, and the opportunity to include repeal on the Defense Authorization Bill means Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell could be repealed this week. But it is dependent upon Congressional support. The odds of ending the gay ban have never been greater. Contact your Congress member to make sure we can end the law that devalues our servicemembers.
Contact your state representative, here.
Contact members of the Senate Armed Services Committee, here.