DADT “Repeal:” We See Through You, Fierce Advocates

Commentary on the LGBT blogosphere this morning is almost universally wary about the control Congressman Patrick Murphy and Senators Carl Levin and Joe Lieberman ceded to the Executive Branch and the military with regard to open service.

Lt Dan Choi, via Twitter:

Do not celebrate compromises. Do not post MISSION ACCOMPLISHED banners. #DADT is not dead. #LGBT

Pam Spaulding:

The President hands over approval of repeal to the Pentagon in essence, again, contingent on such subjective analysis of the potential effect of openly gay and lesbian service members, and they are already serving, mind you, coming out to claim their right to serve as equals to their heterosexual colleagues in the most basic of rights.

One of the things I find curious and predictable is the very shallow analysis of this by purported progressive allies who don’t want to dig deep to see the gory details affecting human beings serving and fighting for this country that might ruin the shine on the President’s crown.
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I think it’s safe to say we all agree that it’s time to end the discrimination caused by DADT, but the devil is in the details and they cannot be glossed over. Obvious questions like what are the possible unintended consequences of returning DADT to a military policy, out of Congressional hands? What kind of scenarios may hurt those serving in the long run. How long will the dream of equality be deferred under this President, the self-proclaimed fierce advocate? Who knows, because all matters swirl around political calculations, strategy and a 2012 run.

Joe Sudbay at AmericaBlogGay:

78 percent. That’s amazingly strong support. But, here in DC, repealing DADT is a considered a controversial issue. And, the White House couldn’t just push for the often promised repeal. Nope. The White House had to concoct a complicated compromise that, according to Richard Socarides offers a "conditional future repeal." That’s what we get from our "fierce advocate."

78 percent:

Most Americans say people who are openly gay should be allowed to serve in the U.S. military, according to a new national poll.

A CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey released Tuesday indicates that 78 percent of the public supports allowing openly gay people to serve in the military, with one in five opposed.

"Support is widespread, even among Republicans. Nearly six in ten Republicans favor allowing openly gay individuals to serve in the military," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "There is a gender gap, with 85 percent of women and 71 percent of men favoring the change, but support remains high among both groups."

So, why all the angst at the White House and on Capitol Hill? I just don’t get it.

Repealing DADT is a winning political issue. It should be anyway.

We still have no idea when the discharges will stop. (No one can actually answer that question.) So, we’ll be probably be fighting to make that happen for a long time. But, we have a wide majority of the public on our side.

Via AmericaBlogGay, Richard Socarides, a lawyer and former senior adviser to the Clinton White House:

"I know we are all thrilled tonight that there may be a break in the logjam over DADT legislation. And it is always important to keep focused on the art of the possible. This has been a long fight and it is not over.

"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."

John Aravosis at AmericaBlogGay:

Without the compromise, I think DADT repeal is dead – dead this year, dead next year, and probably dead for years to come because we’re going to lose a serious number of seats in the Congress in the fall election (and possibly even lose the House). This option, at least, preserves a chance at repeal next year. Without it, there is no chance.

I’m still working through how I feel overall about this proposal, but I wanted to make those two points clear now. But it’s not insignificant that the two groups that are made up of military members, the groups that are directly affected by the gay ban – SLDN and Servicemembers United – appear to be on board.

Aaron Belkin, Director of the Palm Center, at Huffington Post:

Members of the community are understandably concerned about some of the key provisions in the compromise. Most significantly, and contrary to our highest hopes, Congress is poised to repeal the "don’t ask, don’t tell" law, but probably will not instruct the Pentagon to adopt a non-discrimination policy. This means that, in theory, the military could continue to discriminate against gays and lesbians. Or, even if the Pentagon starts to treat gays and lesbians on an equal basis with everyone else, a future administration could undo progress. The community fears a return to the pre-Clinton days when the gay ban was a military regulation, not a law, and the Pentagon had free license to discriminate.

Here’s why that scenario shouldn’t scare us. 2010 is not 1993. The Chairman of the Joint Chief of Staff and the Republican Secretary of Defense have called for open gay service. The public supports open service overwhelmingly, and that includes a majority of Republicans. Within the ranks, people just don’t care. Sure, there are some die-opponents in uniform. But their numbers are small and dwindling. Polls show that the number of service members who feel strongly about the issue is trivial, somewhere around 5 or 10 percent depending on the survey.

Clarknt67, in a Recommended Diary at DailyKos:

In fact, the House Bill always had delayed implementation of 180 days. Had Congress voted for it as is, DADT policy change would not have gone into effect until April 2011, or later. So it’s odd to see the "compromise" be framed as having been found on the issue of "delayed implementation." If that was the objection, there was never anything to object to.
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Optimists see the DOD moving swiftly after the release of the December 1st report. I am not so sure. It worries me the Pentagon fought this bill tooth and nail, when its deadline to change policy was always April or May of 2011. They fought a bill that maintained the status quo, unchanged, for another year, but intend to move swiftly? I fear their idea of swiftly is not so swift.

At this point we are only assured the law will go away when, or presumably even if, three men in a room, decide to do away with it. When—or if—it is determined it’s "consistent with the standards of military readiness, military effectiveness, unit cohesion, and recruiting and retention of the Armed Forces." Whatever that means. In reality, it could mean whatever those three men in the room decide it means.

And who gets to decide if it’s "consistent with the standards of military readiness, military effectiveness, unit cohesion, and recruiting and retention of the Armed Forces?" The very institution that has been witch-hunting LGB soldiers for the entirety of the last century. What could go wrong there? Congress has turned the keys to the henhouse over to the fox. Power to set this policy has been returned to the Pentagon, which "progresses us" back to pre-1993 era, legally.

If you find other blog commentary on this ‘compromise’ please add it in the comments below. Thanks!

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