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Thread: President Barack Obama will end 'don't ask' policy, aide says

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    Default President Barack Obama will end 'don't ask' policy, aide says

    Obama will end 'don't ask' policy, aide says



    (01-13) 20:21 PST -- President Obama will end the 15-year-old "don't ask, don't tell" policy that has prevented homosexual and bisexual men and women from serving openly within the U.S. military, a spokesman for the president-elect said.
    Obama said during the campaign that he opposed the policy, but since his election in November he has made statements that have been interpreted as backpedaling. On Friday, however, Obama spokesman Robert Gibbs, responding on the transition team's Web site to a Michigan resident who asked if the new administration planned to get rid of the policy, said:
    "You don't hear politicians give a one-word answer much. But it's 'Yes.' "
    The little-noticed response, made in a video posted on change.gov, made barely a ripple outside blogs focused on the gay community, but that's not surprising, said those who have been pushing to overturn the ban. Not only was Obama's position expected, they said, but support for reviewing or repealing the policy has grown markedly in recent years, including some from unexpected quarters.
    The end of "don't ask, don't tell" might not happen immediately, several critics of the policy said. Although they appreciate clarity from Obama on the issue, they anticipate that the demands of the economy and two wars are likely to trump a speedy policy reversal.
    "The question isn't if we do it, and the question isn't when we do it, it's how we do it," said Rep. Ellen Tauscher, D-Walnut Creek, whose 2006 bill to repeal the ban earned broad support among Democrats in Congress but did not move forward in the face of a near-certain veto by President Bush.
    "I'm going to reintroduce the bill in the next few weeks," Tauscher said. "We've got the American people behind us."
    Changing attitudes
    An ABC poll in July found that three-quarters of Americans supported allowing gays and lesbians to serve openly in the military compared to 44 percent of Americans who expressed the same support in 1993, when President Bill Clinton approved "don't ask, don't tell" as what he called an "honorable compromise" that nevertheless bitterly disappointed his supporters in the gay community.
    Colin Powell, former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and former Sen. Sam Nunn, D-Ga., both of whom backed the 1993 policy, recently called for it to be re-evaluated. John Shalikashvili, who followed Powell as chairman, has called for its repeal, as has former Georgia Republican Rep. Bob Barr, an opponent of gay rights and legal protections for gays. In an op-ed piece in the Wall Street Journal, Barr disparaged the policy as wasting money and talent.
    The current leaders of the military, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and Adm. Michael Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, have neither supported nor opposed ending the policy in recent comments, saying pointedly that Congress and the president make the laws; the military follows them.
    Recently, the main active support for "don't ask, don't tell" has come from the nonprofit Center for Military Readiness, whose founder, Elaine Donnelly, and other officers did not respond to requests for comment.
    Donnelly has argued that ending the ban on gays serving openly in the military would devastate unit cohesion and morale by ordering heterosexual troops into "forced cohabitation" with openly gay and lesbian troops. But critics of the policy say society has changed since "don't ask, don't tell" was implemented to address similar concerns.
    "We had a decade in the 1990s where people came out, and people came to know that their sisters and their mothers and their colleagues and their children and their friends were gay," said Nathaniel Frank, a senior research fellow with the Palm Center at UC Santa Barbara, which conducts research on sexual minorities in the military.
    "Familiarity breeds tolerance and even acceptance."
    More recent years have seen high-profile discharges of gay Arabic linguists and other troops whose military jobs were deemed essential in Iraq, Afghanistan and the "war on terror" - dismissals that struck many people as inexplicable, said sociologist Melissa Embser-Herbert, author of "The U.S. Military's 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' Policy: A Reference Handbook."
    "We know of gay, lesbian, bisexual veterans who have served in combat theater, and I think that's also a big piece of it," she said. "It's a much harder sell to the general public that that person who died or lost a leg didn't deserve to be serving their country."
    The military also has experienced a shift in attitudes, according to a number of studies. A 2006 Zogby International poll found military members who had served in Iraq or Afghanistan to be split on the issue, with about a quarter saying gays should be able to serve openly and a bit more than a third saying they should not.
    But about a quarter of respondents said they knew a gay person already serving in the military, and a large majority of those - about two-thirds - said the presence of a gay person in their unit made no impact on their personal or their unit's morale. Three-quarters said they would have joined the military even if gays were permitted to serve openly.
    A more recent, if unscientific, readership survey by the Military Times group of newspapers reported that about 58 percent of active-duty respondents opposed repealing the ban, a number that was cited in some media accounts as reflecting broad military opposition to a change.
    But the newspapers that conducted the poll warned that their readers were not a perfect mirror of the military - they were more likely to be older, male, careerists, officers and politically conservative. In that context, sociologist Embser-Herbert said, it is remarkable that the level of opposition was not higher, because it is the younger, enlisted troops who are more likely to favor allowing gays to serve openly.
    'Will and Grace' generation

    "It's the 'Will and Grace' generation," she said. "They've grown up seeing gay people on TV and having friends in 10th-grade come out."
    In the 1980s, when John Caldera was a Navy hospital corpsman, "don't ask, don't tell" was not yet policy, but was practice. Caldera, a gay man now a member of the San Francisco Veterans Commission, recalled how any sailor whose medical problem was diagnosed as HIV would be sequestered in a ward to await the inevitable investigation of presumed homosexuality and likely discharge.
    "The policy ... should have never been created," he said. "With this new administration, I look for the light at the end of the tunnel."
    Today, Caldera is one of several gay veterans in American Legion District 8 in San Francisco whose commander, Michael Gerold, a veteran injured in a firefight in Afghanistan, appointed an openly gay veteran as district finance officer without hesitation.
    "He's an Iraq-Afghanistan veteran. It's just not an issue. Core competencies and leadership, that's what I need," he said. "I don't give a darn about the rest."
    Another legion officer, Matt Shea, chief of staff of American Legion Post 911, recalled deploying to Iraq with a friend and fellow squad leader who later came out to him.
    "It's about competence, about being able to do your job. He was a better leader than most, took care of his guys better than most I'd seen," said Shea. "Who ... cares? Seriously."

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    Elite Member Grimmlok's Avatar
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    I'll wait till it happens before saying anything.
    I am from the American CIA and I have a radio in my head. I am going to kill you.

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    Elite Member Grimmlok's Avatar
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    update: oh of course, now an aide is saying that "it'll have to wait, there are more important things happenin, but it'll happen.. eventually.. really.."

    whatEVER.
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    Elite Member Sweetie's Avatar
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    Well, I agree there are more important things going on. People are starving to death and living on the streets. That needs fixing before we start to worry about what hole people like it stuck in.

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    Elite Member Grimmlok's Avatar
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    Yeah, whatever. They seem to multitask on other things perfectly fine, economy + middle east + healthcare + everything else a government needs to do to govern... but nobody seems to be able to do gay rights + anything else.

    Why the double standard? Because it's a crock of SHIT.

    Also, it's not what hole people like it stuck in. It's equal rights. I'd prefer it not denigrated to something that ignorant.
    I am from the American CIA and I have a radio in my head. I am going to kill you.

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    Did we hear from them that the actual ban on gays in the military will be lifted, or will it only be the 'don't ask, don't tell' policy? I mean, if you stop that policy and do not lift the ban that means recruiters can ask recruits if they are gay and can then reject them if they say yes, right?

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    I remember when Bill Clinton was elected and there was this sense of optimism (for liberals anyway). He said he was going to lift the ban on gays in the military because discrimination should not be part of our institutions, etc. He was slapped down fast and hard and we wound up with that retarded don't ask-don't tell thing. Even some Dems faulted him for "expending his political capital" on this issue.

    Since then, anything more than a passing nod to gay rights has been considered a third-rail issue for Dem presidential candidates. It's definitely one reason Kerry lost in 2004. He had even said that he didn't support gay marriage. But it didn't matter because gay marriage was becoming legal in Mass and a bunch of states put bans on gay marriage on their ballots in 2004 and all those haters came out to vote and re-elected their ass-wipe president to boot.

    Here we are 20-some years later. It's un-fucking-believable. (Sorry, sometimes I just feel old and tired.) It was wrong then, and it's wrong now.

    Obama would definitely have lost the election if he had come out in support of gay marriage, and that is sick and sad to me.

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    Elite Member Grimmlok's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sasha View Post
    Did we hear from them that the actual ban on gays in the military will be lifted, or will it only be the 'don't ask, don't tell' policy? I mean, if you stop that policy and do not lift the ban that means recruiters can ask recruits if they are gay and can then reject them if they say yes, right?
    that doesn't appear to be covered, but I wouldn't put it past them.. seems like it's doing a good thing, but in reality no.
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    Elite Member Sweetie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Grimmlok View Post
    Yeah, whatever. They seem to multitask on other things perfectly fine, economy + middle east + healthcare + everything else a government needs to do to govern... but nobody seems to be able to do gay rights + anything else.

    Why the double standard? Because it's a crock of SHIT.

    Also, it's not what hole people like it stuck in. It's equal rights. I'd prefer it not denigrated to something that ignorant.
    Oh come Grimm, don't try to act so wounded, especially after some of the things you say on here.

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    Elite Member Grimmlok's Avatar
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    What I say on here is usually done in jest, but I don't recall ragging on anything like this in a mocking manner... and i highly doubt you'd compare other civil rights movements to "blacky wantin to get off the cottonfield"

    same thing.
    I am from the American CIA and I have a radio in my head. I am going to kill you.

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    Elite Member Sweetie's Avatar
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    Whatever, Grimm. When you quit speaking of God as the noodlefreak or whatever you choose to call him (when you know there are religious people on here that have never done one thing to harm you), then and only then will I apologize for making a joke. I wasn't trying to mock anyone, nor was I speaking about civil rights, I was speaking about what's most important to everyone...whether you are gay or not...the economy should be the first issue that you are worried about. Without money and financial stability all other issues are void.

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    Let us hope that the Obama admin. can walk and chew gum at the same time. How hard can it be to reverse a policy? Sign a document?

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    Elite Member Grimmlok's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sweetie View Post
    Whatever, Grimm. When you quit speaking of God as the noodlefreak or whatever you choose to call him (when you know there are religious people on here that have never done one thing to harm you), then and only then will I apologize for making a joke.
    Excuse me, Pastafarianism is an actual religion. Sure, it was made up as a humorous counterpoint to actual religion but that's not the point. The Flying Spaghetti Monster hears all, sees all.

    May you be touched by his noodly appendage someday.

    I wasn't trying to mock anyone, nor was I speaking about civil rights, I was speaking about what's most important to everyone...whether you are gay or not...the economy should be the first issue that you are worried about. Without money and financial stability all other issues are void.
    Only to those who have all their rights.
    I am from the American CIA and I have a radio in my head. I am going to kill you.

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    Elite Member Sweetie's Avatar
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    ^ I have no rights, if I did I wouldn't be working so other lazy ass people can set home all day.

    Anyway, I didn't mean to offend or mock anyone.

    I hear the Spaghetti Monster calling...

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    Elite Member january's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sasha View Post
    Did we hear from them that the actual ban on gays in the military will be lifted, or will it only be the 'don't ask, don't tell' policy? I mean, if you stop that policy and do not lift the ban that means recruiters can ask recruits if they are gay and can then reject them if they say yes, right?
    Thats what I was curious about to, the wording is rather odd. Its being lauded as a great thing, so obviously maybe I don't know enough, but it is curious as to what it actually means if this was passed.
    Women ain't gonna let a thing like sense fuck up their argument. - Chris Rock

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