DoD: Looking for Flexibility in DADT

Timothy Kincaid

June 30th, 2009

The American Forces Press Service is reporting that the President and Defense Secretary Gates are looking for ways to find flexibility in the Don’t Ask – Don’t Tell law that bans openly gay servicemembers. (transcript)

“What we have is a law, not a policy or regulation,” Gates said. “And as I discovered when I got into it, it is a very prescriptive law. It doesn\’t leave a lot to the imagination or a lot of flexibility. So one of the things we are looking at is, Is there flexibility in how we apply this law?”

Gates cited the example of someone who\’s been “outed by a third party,” possibly the result of blackmail or a jilting.

“Does that force us to take an action?” he questioned. “I don\’t know the answer to that. I don\’t want to pretend to. But that is the kind of thing we are looking at.”

It sounds as though the community’s very vocal and visible disgust with the administration may be beginning to give impetus to some action. If nothing else (and it is a bare minimum) the administration may be acting on the demands of 77 members of Congress who wrote a letter insisting that the military honor the “Don’t Pursue” part of the law and that witch hunts not be initiated based on “tip”, slurs, and insinuations from people outside of the military.

And if there’s one more thing the President can do, it is this:

1. Pick up the telephone and call Rep. Ellen Tauscher Rep. Patrick Murphy. Tell her him you’ll support HR1283, the Military Readiness Enhancement Act and that he should move forward.

2. Call a meeting with Rep. Taucher Murphy, Senate Majority Leader Reid, and Speaker of the House Pelosi and tell them that it’s time to pass this bill.

3. Announce in a press conference that you’ve heard the will of the people, Democrat and Republican, Liberal and Conservative, all of whom support overturning the ban. Use language about discrimination and the best interest of the military. Tell the stories of the men and women who were linguists and medical personnel who were sorely needed but sacrificed to bigotry.

Come to think of it, if you go that route you don’t have to worry about flexibility at all.

(hat tip Stefano)

Update: The lead on this bill has been assigned to Rep. Patrick Murphy

Stefano A

June 30th, 2009

Just an FYI . . .

When I commented in the other thread and cited the AFP article the transcript of the press conference wasn’t online yet.

The transcript has now been posted by the Dod on their web site which shows Gates comments in the context of a Q&A.

Press Conference with Secretary Gates En Route From Germany(Tue, 30 Jun 2009 18:37:00 -0500


June 30th, 2009

I agree with most of this, but one part stands out as being a bit Orwellian in its denial of reality.

Holding a press conference and stating that conservatives support overturning DADT? What conservatives? Wander over to and see if any of those conservatives support overturning it.

Let me quote Edward R. Murrow: “To be persuasive we must be believable; to be believable we must be credible; credible we must be truthful.”

Besides, I don’t want to let conservatives off the hook when this issue and this era is reflected upon in another 50 years. There was a time when racial discrimination and miscegenation laws were supported by conservatives as being common sense. Today they are viewed as an abhorrent shame in the history of America’s social justice.

I don’t want anyone trying to claim, 50 years from now, that conservatives were anything but belligerently opposed to overturning DADT.


June 30th, 2009

If you’ve seen any of the recent polls on DADT you’d know that yes, even Republicans/conservatives support its repeal by a sizable majority. So it is very believable.

It’s absurd that Congress is so cowardly to take action in light of the overwhelming support of their constituency to move on this issue.

Timothy Kincaid

June 30th, 2009


A Gallop Poll in June showed that 58% of self-identified “conservatives” said “favor” to:

Do you favor or oppose allowing openly gay men and lesbian women to serve in the military.

Jim Burroway

June 30th, 2009

That same Gallup poll also found that 60% of weekly church goers, 58% of Republicans also were in favor of repealing DADT.

Leonard Drake

June 30th, 2009

In response to both of those polls concerning self-identified “conservatives,” weekly church-goers, and Republicans: what percentage of ACTUAL conservative voters support the repeal of DADT? Do data collected via exit polls suggest equivalent conservative support for DADT repeal? More, less? Or does such information not exist?

I pose these questions as Congressional representatives in opposition to the repeal of DADT often cite they are representing the “will of the voters” (as opposed to some “survey”). Even so, exit polls are still surveys just the same.


July 1st, 2009

I’m pretty sure Tauscher has gone to the State Department, or that she will be very soon…

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