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

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

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

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


January 25th, 2010

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


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

Jim Burroway

January 25th, 2010


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


January 25th, 2010

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

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


January 25th, 2010

“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

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

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

“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

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.

Leave A Comment

All comments reflect the opinions of commenters only. They are not necessarily those of anyone associated with Box Turtle Bulletin. Comments are subject to our Comments Policy.

(Required, never shared)

PLEASE NOTE: All comments are subject to our Comments Policy.


Latest Posts

The Things You Learn from the Internet

"The Intel On This Wasn't 100 Percent"

From Fake News To Real Bullets: This Is The New Normal

NC Gov McCrory Throws In The Towel

Colorado Store Manager Verbally Attacks "Faggot That Voted For Hillary" In Front of 4-Year-Old Son

Associated Press Updates "Alt-Right" Usage Guide

A Challenge for Blue Bubble Democrats

Baptist Churches in Dallas, Austin Expelled Over LGBT-Affirming Stance

Featured Reports

What Are Little Boys Made Of?

In this original BTB Investigation, we unveil the tragic story of Kirk Murphy, a four-year-old boy who was treated for “cross-gender disturbance” in 1970 by a young grad student by the name of George Rekers. This story is a stark reminder that there are severe and damaging consequences when therapists try to ensure that boys will be boys.

Slouching Towards Kampala: Uganda’s Deadly Embrace of Hate

When we first reported on three American anti-gay activists traveling to Kampala for a three-day conference, we had no idea that it would be the first report of a long string of events leading to a proposal to institute the death penalty for LGBT people. But that is exactly what happened. In this report, we review our collection of more than 500 posts to tell the story of one nation’s embrace of hatred toward gay people. This report will be updated continuously as events continue to unfold. Check here for the latest updates.

Paul Cameron’s World

In 2005, the Southern Poverty Law Center wrote that “[Paul] Cameron’s ‘science’ echoes Nazi Germany.” What the SPLC didn”t know was Cameron doesn’t just “echo” Nazi Germany. He quoted extensively from one of the Final Solution’s architects. This puts his fascination with quarantines, mandatory tattoos, and extermination being a “plausible idea” in a whole new and deeply disturbing light.

From the Inside: Focus on the Family’s “Love Won Out”

On February 10, I attended an all-day “Love Won Out” ex-gay conference in Phoenix, put on by Focus on the Family and Exodus International. In this series of reports, I talk about what I learned there: the people who go to these conferences, the things that they hear, and what this all means for them, their families and for the rest of us.

Prologue: Why I Went To “Love Won Out”
Part 1: What’s Love Got To Do With It?
Part 2: Parents Struggle With “No Exceptions”
Part 3: A Whole New Dialect
Part 4: It Depends On How The Meaning of the Word "Change" Changes
Part 5: A Candid Explanation For "Change"

The Heterosexual Agenda: Exposing The Myths

At last, the truth can now be told.

Using the same research methods employed by most anti-gay political pressure groups, we examine the statistics and the case studies that dispel many of the myths about heterosexuality. Download your copy today!

And don‘t miss our companion report, How To Write An Anti-Gay Tract In Fifteen Easy Steps.

Testing The Premise: Are Gays A Threat To Our Children?

Anti-gay activists often charge that gay men and women pose a threat to children. In this report, we explore the supposed connection between homosexuality and child sexual abuse, the conclusions reached by the most knowledgeable professionals in the field, and how anti-gay activists continue to ignore their findings. This has tremendous consequences, not just for gay men and women, but more importantly for the safety of all our children.

Straight From The Source: What the “Dutch Study” Really Says About Gay Couples

Anti-gay activists often cite the “Dutch Study” to claim that gay unions last only about 1½ years and that the these men have an average of eight additional partners per year outside of their steady relationship. In this report, we will take you step by step into the study to see whether the claims are true.

The FRC’s Briefs Are Showing

Tony Perkins’ Family Research Council submitted an Amicus Brief to the Maryland Court of Appeals as that court prepared to consider the issue of gay marriage. We examine just one small section of that brief to reveal the junk science and fraudulent claims of the Family “Research” Council.

Daniel Fetty Doesn’t Count

Daniel FettyThe FBI’s annual Hate Crime Statistics aren’t as complete as they ought to be, and their report for 2004 was no exception. In fact, their most recent report has quite a few glaring holes. Holes big enough for Daniel Fetty to fall through.