Online news aggregator The Daily Beast reports that Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) may amend a Defense reauthorization bill to include an 18-month moratorium on the military’s ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ policy. The bill may be taken up by the Senate as early as Tuesday.
When CNN’s Anderson Cooper asked President Obama on Monday about the 1993 law that bars LGBT people from serving openly in the armed forces, President Obama replied with a firm “I want to see this law changed.”
That statement drew tough criticism from LGBT advocates, like John Aravosis, author of AMERICAblog, who cried foul on the President’s word choice of “change” rather than “repeal.” Aravosis accuses the President of subtly recanting his campaign promise to fully repeal DADT, and instead believes that the Obama administration will fall short of a full repeal and simply edit the existing law.
In any case, the President has often expressed his opposition to the policy, but rarely has he given any indication as to when it is likely to be overturned. When Anderson Cooper asked the President about a timeframe for “the change,” the President insisted:
I’d like to see it done sooner rather than later and we’ve begun a process to not only work it through congress but also to make sure that the Pentagon has thought through all the ramifications of how this would be most effective.
The Obama administration has faced scrutiny recently from LGBT leaders who criticize the President’s hesitation in fulfilling his campaign promises to the community. ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ has become an especially contentious subject after the University of California at Santa Barbara’s ‘Palm Center’ pointed out that the President has proper authority under the law to suspend DADT during a time of war. President Obama, however, has stressed that he only supports repealing the policy through congressional legislation.
Sen. Gillibrand’s amendment, if passed, could expedite an end to the policy in a fashion that suits the president’s wishes while simultaneously granting congress time to consider more permanent revisions.
Meanwhile The Advocate reports that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) will support the amendment and even believes Sen. Gillibrand’s proposal could be improved. “I would make it permanent,” Sen. Reid commented. The Advocate also purports that “several other senators” are deliberating the opportunity to present the amendment in the Senate.
GLAAD will continue to monitor the media’s coverage of the White House’s stance on ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’.