Military Paper Confirms HRC’s Deal to De-Prioritize ‘Don’t Ask – Don’t Tell’

Timothy Kincaid

June 22nd, 2009

Early this month we told you of a report by Jason Bellini which claimed that HRC had derailed the repeal of the military’s anti-gay ‘Don’t Ask – Don’t Tell’ policy in favor of fast-tracking the bills which they support. HRC strongly denied the claim.

However, the military paper Stars and Stripes is confirming the claim:

An official with the House Democratic leadership said the House is committed to repealing “don\’t ask” but has agreed with civil rights groups to put new hate crime legislation and a workplace nondiscrimination bill on the legislative calendar before taking up the military issue.

Stars and Stripes also reminds us that legislation is ready to go and just waiting for the President’s support:

The House of Representatives has had a bill to overturn the law pending since March, but no hearings have been scheduled on the measure. Bill sponsor Rep. Ellen Tauscher, D-Calif., collected 147 co-sponsors for the legislation but publicly said she wouldn\’t push for passage without support from the president.

And they raise an interesting observation about the limitations on the new benefits announced by the President last week:

But planned changes don\’t contain any privacy or anonymity guarantees. Edmund Burns, spokesman for the Office of Personnel Management, said everyone applying for benefits is essentially “outing” themselves and their partners.

That means a Defense Department employee with a same-sex partner in the military could run afoul of the “don\’t ask” rules.

Pentagon officials said they are not aware of any plans to adopt special guidelines shielding benefits information from “don\’t ask” investigations.

Jim Burroway

June 22nd, 2009

There’s something I don’t think is right about the Stars and Stripes article. I don’t believe that civilian Pentagon employees fall under DADT. My understanding is that DADT covers enlisted personnel only, not civilian employees.

Jim Burroway

June 22nd, 2009

Oh, nevermind. I see it now. The concern is over a Pentagon employee whose partner is serving in the military, and thus “outing” the partner.


June 23rd, 2009

I called HRC to ask them to refund my recent donation and spoke to Lisette (sp?). She stipulated the impossibility of responding to unnamed sources in Stars and Stripes and insisted that the Bellini report is “all lies”, and that HRC “would never say ‘no, we don’t want that'”.

My point, and I think Bellini’s point, was that HRC wouldn’t & didn’t say such a thing, but they might be willing — and I think did — agree to let things slide for a session and provide cover… if HRC’s legislative priorities are met — and they get to take credit for it.

Over the course of the conversation, Lisette took credit for HRC for marriage equality in Iowa and Maine. I can’t speak to their involvement in Maine, but given that Iowa was a court decision, I think this is another case of HRC taking credit where credit is NOT due.

I’m WAY on the outside, but from where I sit in the cheap seats, HRC is way to cozy with the folks in Washington, and they aren’t listening to the Pride parades on Main St.

Obviously, I’m ticked… Apparently in 7-10 days, I’m getting my donation back from HRC. I’m sending it out to any one of several other groups that are fighting for me: Lambda Legal, GLAAD, or maybe Mayor Gavin Newsome’s bid to be my governor.

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