After Midterms, Obama Still Pushing DADT Repeal

Posted by Chris Geidner
November 3, 2010 2:02 PM |

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[UPDATED @ 2:28 P.M.]

At his news conference Wednesday afternoon, President Barack Obama was asked by CNN's Ed Henry about the repeal of the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy.

Of gay and lesbian servicemembers, he said, "They should not be prevented from doing so because of their sexual orientation. ... The overwhelming majority of Americans feel the same way."

On how to make that happen, Obama returned to his and his administration's general response to the issue, saying, "As commander-in-chief, I've said that making this change needs to be done in an orderly fashion ... to make sure that we are looking at this in a systematic way that maintains good order and discipline, but that we need to change this policy."

He went on to note that the Pentagon working group is to complete its report on repeal implementation by Dec. 1. He said of the review's release, "That will give us time to act, potentially, during the lame-duck session to change this policy."

He did not address how changed dynamics in the Senate -- including the addition of Senator-elect Mark Kirk (R-Ill.), who voted against DADT repeal in the House, to the lame-duck session -- would impact the chances for legislative repeal

Obama then talked about the court cases that exist challenging DADT, saying that having "this issue bouncing around in the courts" is "very disruptive to good order and disclipline and unit cohesion" because "the Pentagon and the chain of command doesn't know at any given time what rules they're working under."

Obama did not address his administration's decision to appeal the trial court ruling in Log Cabin Republicans v. United States, which has led to confusion, consternation and outright anger from certain segments of the LGBT and legal community.

He concluded, however, with more strong language than he has used thus far in his comments on the end of the 1993 law and resulting policy, saying, "We need to provide certainty, and it's time for us to move this policy forward."

He added, "And this should not be a partisan issue -- this is an issue, as I said, where you've got a sizable portion of the American people squarely behind the notion that folks who are willing to serve on our behalf should be treated fairly and equally."

In a statement, Human Rights Campaign president Joe Solmonese supported the president's call for lame-duck action while noting that it was just "the first step" that Obama will need to take to ensure repeal.

"The President's call for repeal today is a first step of many needed to fulfill his state of the union promise to end the law that harms our national security," Solmonese said. "We urge the Senate to heed the President's call for action in the post-election session and look forward to his continued leadership in seeing this through."


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