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Crunch time on #DADT: Lame-duck session provides last-best hope to repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”

DADT trial

by Andy Kelley
New Media Organizer, Courage Campaign

There were several key developments this weekend for advocates seeking to push a vote to repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” during the lame-duck session of Congress, including Defense Secretary Gates voicing his support for the repeal. “I would like to see the repeal of ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ but I’m not sure what the prospects for that are,” Secretary Gates told the AP on Saturday.

However, as Kerry Eleveld reports for the Advocate, Secretary Gates support comes at a time when it’s uncertain what impact they might have:

Over the weekend, observers of the “don’t ask, don’t tell” debate began cautiously acknowledging that an effort is in the works to potentially move a stripped down version of the must-pass National Defense Authorization Act that would exclude repeal.

A person close to the process said Sen. Carl Levin, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, is looking into a deal with Sec. Gates that would cut ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ out of the Defense bill in order to smooth its way to passage.

“Levin is making calls under the premise – we can’t afford to waste time on a controversial provision, so we’ll strip out the controversial provision and be able to get the bill on and off the floor in the available amount of time,” said the source, who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

Despite Gates support, and the uncertainty of if DADT will be brought to the Senate floor for a vote, Gen. James Amos, Marine Commandant, reiterated his oposition to lifting the ban, telling the Los Angeles Times:

“There’s risk involved,” Amos said. “I’m trying to determine how to measure that risk. This is not a social thing. This is combat effectiveness.”

According to the Army Times, Amos’ opposition came as news to Admiral Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, who told reporters he was “surprised by what he[Amos] said and surprised he said it publicly.” Especially after the service chiefs had agreed to “look at the data and then make our recommendations privately.”

In response to mixed signals from the Obama Administration on its commitment to prioritize repealing DADT, Alexander Nicholson, Executive Director of Servicemembers United, issued the following statement:

“President Obama and his spokesman have had several opportunities to publicly declare the administration’s set of priorities for the lame duck session of Congress. Unfortunately, completing the defense authorization bill has not been included among those priorities,” said Alexander Nicholson, Executive Director of Servicemembers United. “These omissions stand in stark contrast to what the President and his staff are saying elsewhere. Mr. President, either your administration is with us or its against us, and a mediocre level of public advocacy from your White House is not standing with us.”

As for those of us here at the Prop 8 Trial Tracker, we remain hopeful that there will be movement on this critical issue soon, and will continue to bring you the latest updates as they continue to develop.

UPDATE BY EDEN: Karen Ocamb has more on DADT at LGBTPOV, including this update on the SCOTUS Justice Anthony Kennedy’s response to the Log Cabin Republicans’ attempt to overturn the stay from the 9th Circuit:

Meanwhile, the Log Cabin Republicans lawsuit against the government challenging the constitutionality of DADT took another bold turn. On Friday, attorney Dan Woods, who has represented LCR since the case was first filed in 2004, asked the US Supreme Court overrule the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals decision to keep DADT in effect while the case winds its way through the judicial system. The 9th Circuit was responding to an appeal by the Department of Justice to stay an injunction against further enforcement of DADT ordered by District Court Judge Virginia Phillips, who ruled that DADT is unconstitutional and harms the military and gay soldiers.

Justice Anthony Kennedy told the Justice Department to file its response to the LCR’s motion by 5:00pm Eastern time on Wednesday. According to the Washington Post, Kennedy handles appeals from the 9th Circuit and “he can either rule on the case on his own or refer it to the entire court.”

“The 9th Circuit order was arbitrary and an abuse of discretion and should be vacated immediately,” said Woods said in a statement. “We continue to look forward to the day when all Americans can serve in our military without regard to their sexual orientation.”

Harvard Law School graduate Ari Ezra Waldman, who is now on the faculty at California Western School of Law in San Diego, has an analysis of the LCR filing at Towleroad.


  • 1. Lesbians Love Boies  |  November 8, 2010 at 7:46 am


  • 2. Ann S.  |  November 8, 2010 at 7:46 am

    Repeal DADT! Repeal it now!

  • 3. JinMD  |  November 8, 2010 at 7:54 am

    Be sure to complete the Family Research Council's online survey to let them know how you really feel:

  • 4. Gew  |  November 8, 2010 at 7:55 am

    I predict it will NOT be repealed and will remain policy for the forseeable future.

    And I will be VERY happy to eat my words.

  • 5. Kathleen  |  November 8, 2010 at 7:56 am

    Is anyone putting together an organized effort to pressure the targeted Senators as outlined in this "Path Forward" video?

  • 6. Sagesse  |  November 8, 2010 at 7:57 am

    Processing, and subscribing. Mullen's comments are telling. He needs to reign in Amos, the Marine corps commandant. Since there's already been a leak, the best way to do that is to telegraph clearly that the troops and their families, have no problem with repeal, including the marines, if that's what the survey shows.

  • 7. Bob  |  November 8, 2010 at 8:01 am

    Crunch time indeed, act up , make noise, move this along, this action alone has such hudge potential for striking a permanent handicap to the religious right, this action alone, has the power to punch the pope in the nose.
    Open service members defy the christian fundies in the most harmful way. mobilize, move this bill forward, march in the streets, by our actions make it inevitalble, in the lame duck session. to save us and those service members from ritots and full on battle to achieve it. Make democracy work

  • 8. Bob  |  November 8, 2010 at 8:03 am

    thaks Kathleen, timely reminder follow the roadmap, target those Senators, put the pressure on

  • 9. Ann S.  |  November 8, 2010 at 8:11 am

    This just in: Michigan Assistant AG Andrew Shirvell has been FIRED! Good riddance!

  • 10. Alan E.  |  November 8, 2010 at 8:24 am


  • 11. Michelle Evans  |  November 8, 2010 at 8:27 am

    Oooh! That was fun! Everyone should do that. Nice to be able to give them a piece of your mind, although we all know that any dissenting viewpoints will simply be deleted from their survey.

  • 12. Ronnie  |  November 8, 2010 at 8:33 am

    NOW!!!!!!!!!!……. XO …..Ronnie

  • 13. Michelle Evans  |  November 8, 2010 at 8:34 am

    Although this is good news, unfortunately, there was a link to another story on this page that says Steve Cooley has pulled a slight lead over Kamala Harris for Attorney General here in California. Still a lot of absentee votes to count, so we still have our fingers crossed he will not be elected to the office where he can then fight to keep Prop 8 on the books.

  • 14. Ronnie  |  November 8, 2010 at 8:35 am


  • 15. Ronnie  |  November 8, 2010 at 8:39 am

    that was about the Shirvell story…not the Cooley one…. : I …Ronnie

  • 16. Bob  |  November 8, 2010 at 8:57 am

    we'll need a revision to that roadmap to repeal, Service Members United, let's here the response.

  • 17. Michelle Evans  |  November 8, 2010 at 8:58 am

    So much for the assurances of Obama that DADT is on the road to appeal.

  • 18. Ronnie  |  November 8, 2010 at 9:03 am

    I want to know what is it going to take for the government to actually treat us like American Citizens instead of toys in their selfish little game…..

    Do we have to start rioting? Do we have to become entirely belligerent to the point that no work what-so-ever gets done in this country? Do with have to block off their offices? Do we have to block off all bridges, tunnels, train tracks, air ports & busses? Do we have to sue them for misuse of our hard earned money (i.e. using it to discriminate against us)? How many of us have to go on a hunger strike & risk our lives for Freedom & Equality for ALL before they take us seriously? Do all the soldiers who are serving in silence have to throw down their guns while in battle & say "I am Gay & I will not serve you any more unless I can do it as I am? Do the Heterosexuals soldiers have to do the same? How many kids have to kill themselves? How many LGBT homes like that of the Stutte Family in Oklahoma have to be set on fire by repugnant Homophobic knuckle draggers for the government to say no more? How many LGBT Centers have to receive death threats like the noose at the EQCA office in California & the Rainbow Flag that was set on fire & left on the door the LGBT Center in New York? How many LGBT individuals have to be physically attacked or murdered for being LGBT or even perceived to be LGBT?

    What is it going to take?…the line should have been drawn when a innocent 17month old Baby boy was murdered for acting girlie….but No..It wasn't….WHAT IS IT GOING TO TAKE!!!!!!!!?……. > ( ….Ronnie

  • 19. Freddy  |  November 8, 2010 at 9:12 am

    Seems like the GOP would be trying to come up with the ideal candidate that would appeal to the gay community so they could gather the necessary support to oust obummer. So far the only noticeable thing that he has done for us is to get the hate crimes legislation enacted, unless he seriously steps up his game in the next 22 months I see him facing a large group of upset voters that won't trust him for the next 4 years knowing all he will do is let us down. Hillary in 2012!

  • 20. Bob  |  November 8, 2010 at 9:18 am

    hear hear Ronnie, well said, that is the question each one of us must ask, What is it going to take? Where will I draw the line in my life personally, how can I act to bring change.

    I'm thinking all of the above at the sam time might do it. We can stop participating in an insane society, stop consuming , think of that, consuming what? nearly everything we consume from the tiniest trinket, clothing, food, ideas, have been tainted with toxins of money hungry power mongers. our values have been tainted our very souls have been sold, for the American dream, which by the way does not include what our souls and spirits need to thrive.

    Stop consuming, turn the world upside down, replace things with a human capacity to love each other. feed equality….. buy used, shop thrift stores, use food banks, feed equality put our values back on each other

  • 21. Mark M. (Seattle)  |  November 8, 2010 at 9:21 am

    As always Ronnie I deeply LOVE your passion.
    Big hugs my friend


  • 22. Straight Ally #3008  |  November 8, 2010 at 9:56 am

    Too bad, Evil Pee Wee!

  • 23. Michelle Evans  |  November 8, 2010 at 10:09 am

    As I mentioned, at the bottom of that story about Shirvell is a link to a story about Cooley versus Harris.

  • 24. Ronnie  |  November 8, 2010 at 10:10 am

    big hugs back….<3…Ronnie

  • 25. Michelle Evans  |  November 8, 2010 at 10:11 am

    Here's the direct story link without the intervening Shirvell article:

  • 26. JonT  |  November 8, 2010 at 11:23 am

  • 27. Ronnie  |  November 8, 2010 at 12:17 pm

    Well, well, well…It looks like NOM is not getting the positive press they want….

    The tribe has bespoken: NOM supporter wants to vote us off the island

    *It kind of reminds us of he time Family Research Council Senior official Peter Sprigg made a frighteningly similar call:

    (video of Sprigg saying "I would prefer to export Homosexuals from the United States then to import them into the United States because we believe that Homosexuality is destructive to society")

    (me) Oh NOM NOM NOM NOM….FAIL!!!!!!!!!!!……<3…Ronnie

  • 28. Richard A. Walter (s  |  November 8, 2010 at 12:25 pm

    The only way we are going to see DADT and DOMA repealed, and the only way we are going to see a fully inclusive ENDA, UAFA, and Civil Rights ACT passed is for all of us who think voting doesn't matter to get off our asses, get out to the polls, and vote! We have to do that, and we have to get out in the streets, and we have to keep contacting honest lawyers who will actually take these cases into the courts. We also have to keep after NOM, AFA, ADF, Focus on the Family, and all the rest until they realize that we are not going to tolerate their bullying tactics and their lies any longer! Come on, folks, let's get with it now!

  • 29. Ronnie  |  November 8, 2010 at 12:28 pm

    I forgot to add the Good As You thread is about a NOM supporter that posted this today…..(includes screenshot)

    Sam Rice: "Wouldn't it be nice if all of the deviant sinners could move to some island, and let us have America back without having to worry about living among the trash."

    (me)….hmmmmmmmm…. : I …Ronnie

  • 30. Bob  |  November 8, 2010 at 1:12 pm

    re the story about Dadt removal from NDAA, from listening to the news tonight (Maddow) that's not a done deal yet:::::

    they're trying to find one Republican to vote with them,,,,it's long and treacherous,

  • 31. j  |  November 8, 2010 at 2:35 pm

    Dear P8TT,
    This is a general question about this site, not this post: why keep the modified logo from the Prop 8 campaign on this site? I love P8TT, and read it frequently. I know the 8 supporters are irked that we have hijacked their logo, but honestly, it irks me too. Why not come up with a more cutting-edge image that reflects our community spirit, and leave the pseudo-bathroom icons to the other side?
    Just wondering…
    Thanks for all your work, and the great posts!

  • 32. DADT future in question |&hellip  |  November 8, 2010 at 3:39 pm

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  • 33. BK  |  November 8, 2010 at 2:59 pm

    I'm afraid what you say will likely be true. This is one of the very few issues those republicans don't "listen to the people" on, isn't it? Probably because it goes directly against their agenda. Once those (mostly republican) [insert bad word(s) here] start running Congress, we will have no chance of repeal for the next two years.

    ^Sorry to single out the Republicans, but it's the truth.

  • 34. Bill  |  November 8, 2010 at 4:14 pm

    Today's New York Times has an article that hints at the political maneuvering at work in considering the repeal of DADT as part of the defense spending bill. Here's the link:

    Bill in San Diego, mostly a lurker

  • 35. Jeremy  |  November 8, 2010 at 11:24 pm

    I thoroughly enjoyed filling that out. Everyone needs to fill out this survey.

  • 36. Jeremy  |  November 8, 2010 at 11:30 pm

    Ok, I have a question. There are leaks coming out about some of the results of the big DADT survey passed to military members and their spouses. All indications are that there will be no adverse effects if DADT is repealed. What happens when this is verified after Dec. 1 when the survey is completed? Will the right wing nuts embrace the findings and give in? Or will they find something new to say about it? I have seen they are already saying that the survey was biased in our favor, which I find hilarious, since we were the ones saying it was biased and they were praising it after the initial release. I still feel it was biased against us, but if it comes out that no one in the military cares, it will only prove our point even more right?

  • 37. Richard A. Walter (s  |  November 9, 2010 at 2:08 am

    I filled it out. And I know they will not like what I had to say. Especially when I told them the truth about bigotry, hatred, and their attempts to turn this country into a theocracy, and gave them a low rating on trust.

  • 38. JonT  |  November 9, 2010 at 6:32 am

    Agreed. Felt good. And – I didn't even have to lie :)

  • 39. Ann S.  |  November 10, 2010 at 3:52 am


  • 40. wraith  |  November 12, 2010 at 12:23 pm

    In response to sagesse: the military would be even less efficent then we are if there were a repeal do to the simple fact that no matter how hard they chain of command tries to stop prejudicy and such it will never go away. A repeal wouldg lower a soldiers awareness in battle because they would worry about the 'what if' factor. What would the gay soldier do if i got hit is the common question. And to band a gay soldier from going into a fight is just as prejudice. Now im not prejudice but this is what comes up when myself and other soldiers discuss the issue.

  • 41. Ann S.  |  November 12, 2010 at 12:53 pm

    What would the gay soldier do if i got hit

    I don't understand — what are you and other soldiers worried about happening if you got hit (do you mean shot?) in the presence of a gay soldier. Could you please explain?

  • 42. Ronnie  |  November 12, 2010 at 1:04 pm

    They need to get over it..the Gay soldier has to worry about what would the homophobic soldier do…i.e. kill him/her or not try to protect him/her because he/she has some selfish little issue with how someone else lives their life..instead of doing their job which is to serve & protect ALL not just who he/she chooses too…..Really I have no respect for any soldier whose biggest issue in combat is whether Joe or Jane is openly Gay & has a husband/wife or boyfriend/girlfriend back home….those type of "what if" factors shouldn't apply…It really is not that hard to not disrespect those who are risking their lives along side you for the same service to the country they vowed to protect….Soldiers in Israel, the U.K. & Canada (just to name a few) seem to be able to comprehend that….are our soldiers in America, who I should trust with my life, really that selfish & shallow?…."Oh it is true, Sam wants to serve our country & "protect" freedom but I don't want to work with Sam because Sam is Gay & I don't agree with that"…how selfish…how shallow…how honorable….such integrity from an American "hero"…Leonard Matlovich (RIP) & all the other LGBT soldiers who risked their lives for "American Freedom" should be "proud: to be treated with such "respect" ….unfortunately they are not getting respect…they are being treated as if they are not worthy of anything unless they disobey the honor code, lie, & pretend to be heterosexuals while their families & friends are forced to do the same thing…just to appease some homophobic knuckle draggers selfish insecurities & inability to do the job they are being paid to do because of some irrational little fear of "Gays"….That's not very courageous & brave, now is it?…just saying….<3…Ronnie

  • 43. Bob  |  November 12, 2010 at 1:17 pm

    wraith it's good that you and other soldiers are discusssing this issue..

    are you saying you prefer not knowing who is gay?

    in that case you don't have to think about it, and the soldier with you in the fight when you get shot will act the way a soldier does, that soldier right now behind you may very well be gay and you don't know it, ? when DADT is repealed not every soldier will volunteer his orientation, you still may be in that situation of not knowing who has got your back.

    have you ever known a gay person???

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