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Richard Socarides: Obama and DADT

Jim Burroway

January 25th, 2010

Richard Socarides was Pres. Bill Clinton’s special assistant and senior White House adviser on gay rights from 1997 to 1999. In an op-ed in this morning’s Wall Street Journal, he asks whether President Barack Obama is more interested in the constitutional rights for Guantanamo detainees than for LGBT citizens serving the military fighting terrorism:

What is especially troubling, however, is Mr. Obama’s oversensitivity to a dwindling minority of bigots on this issue. Hundreds of military careers have been destroyed on his watch for no valid reason. The country has been deprived of the talents of these service members and has wasted millions of dollars on their training.

Many wonder when their president will show the same kind of concern for the constitutional rights of gay American service members as he has for enemy combatants held at Guantanamo Bay. Many wonder what the administration’s willingness to treat gay Americans as second-class citizens says to Uganda and other countries that are considering laws that would subject gays to imprisonment and even death.

Gay Americans have been among the president’s most ardent supporters. Their enthusiasm, and that of their families and friends, could be crucial in this year’s elections. The president’s action—or inaction—on Don’t Ask Don’t Tell will be noticed.



January 25th, 2010 | LINK

I understand your determination to focus on the anti-gay Evangelical clergy who wrote the program for the coming gay holocaust in Uganda, but why are you letting Obama off the hook. It was his administration, in their defense of DOMA, that first grabbed my attention with the argument that all gay people are paedophiles. I regard the President as one more of the instigators and determiners of this mass kill-off.

Ben in Oakland
January 25th, 2010 | LINK

as an addendum to soccarides: we have soldieres dying to due lack of good intelligence due to lack of translators. We have convicted felons who have been given moral waivers, while law- abing gay people are deemed unfit.

We have victor Fehrenbach and dan choi.

All the other side has is bigotry.

January 25th, 2010 | LINK

Wasn’t he part of the administration that brought us DADT? Strange to now find him lecturing others.

January 25th, 2010 | LINK

Richard Socarides’s op-ed looks like a predictable exercise in deceitful gay rhetoric.

There is no constitutional right to serve in the military, and it’s a good thing there isn’t. Comparing a law that forbids homosexuals from serving openly in the military to laws that threaten them with imprisonment or death is fooolish; not serving in the military means that one is less likely to die.

In any case, I rather suspect that the Ugandan government isn’t influenced one way or the other by the American military’s exclusion of homosexuals.

Jim Burroway
January 25th, 2010 | LINK


Please provide evidence that Obama said that all gay people were pedophiles.

Jim Burroway
January 25th, 2010 | LINK


Socarides became an advisor to Clinton following the furor over DADT and DOMA.

January 25th, 2010 | LINK

Jim, I think he’s referring to Justice Department’s despicable amicus last summer. I think it was in favor of Prop 8? I can’t remember now. All I recall is that the White House had to scramble to re-orient itself after that, and apparently it was a GWB appointee who wrote the brief.

Timothy Kincaid
January 25th, 2010 | LINK

It was Aravosis’ histrionic interpretation of a DOJ brief. We did not take the same interpretation.

January 25th, 2010 | LINK

“Not serving in the military means that one is less likely to die.”

That’s a rather ignorant and egocentric way of looking at it, Quo. How about serving in the military means that the people you care about (i.e., civilians) are less likely to die?

Jim Burroway
January 25th, 2010 | LINK

It was a despicable brief, but as Timothy pointed reminds us in the examination of that brief I wrote last June, the brief did not say what John Avarisis famously said it did. I also expored that claim in more detail here. I have no qualms about criticizing the Obama administration, and have done so many, many times. But I think all criticisms must be grounded in facts rather than hystrionics. That’s Fox News’ stock and trade, not ours.

January 25th, 2010 | LINK

I find it odd that Quo, who has in the past argued that parents should have the right to subject their children to sexual abuse and has proudly ranted that he is not an American or living in America, would pronounce himself an expert on American constitutional values.

It is also ironic that the constitution of the country that he lives in (South Africa) explicitly affirms equality for gays and lesbians. So, I would guess that this particular law would be completely unconstitutional in his country.

Mark F.
January 25th, 2010 | LINK

“How about serving in the military means that the people you care about (i.e., civilians) are less likely to die?”

Tell that to the hundreds of thousands of civilians killed by the U.S. military in Iraq, Viet Nam, Pakistan, Iraq, etc., etc.

January 25th, 2010 | LINK

Thanks, Jim B. Even so, I’d have thought he might be more careful about taking the high road. Aravosis is too hysterical for me. Can’t go to that site.

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