State of The Union DADT Superpost: Words, Promises, Reactions, Video

This is what Obama said about repealing DADT: “This year, I will work with Congress and our military to finally repeal the law that denies gay Americans the right to serve the country they love because of who they are. It’s the right thing to do.”

And then, of course, we have the reactions and responses.

In case you didn’t see or hear it last night, here is the video of his words regarding DADT. We know that Lt. Fehrenbach was mildly disappointed. Here are the reactions of the LGBT organizations: You need to a flashplayer enabled browser to view this YouTube video

Human Rights Campaign:

With the President’s leadership, now it is up to Congress to act. We’re rolling out a new strategic campaign to do exactly that – put an end to the discriminatory law that’s forced thousands of lesbian and gay members of the military to lie about who they are or face losing their jobs. We’ve spent months designing a plan to pass legislation which repeals DADT. The plan will include organizing veterans across the country, generating media coverage in key markets and building focused campaigns in targeted states that will be critical to securing the final votes in the House and Senate. First step: pushing legislation through the House by building a well-spring of support from representatives, while laying the groundwork for a critical fight in the Senate. Help us capitalize on the President’s pledge tonight by asking your representative and senators to move quickly to repeal DADT. Tomorrow morning when Congress returns to work, we want to make sure their inboxes are flooded with emails echoing the President’s call to repeal DADT.

Equality California:

We appreciate President Obama reiterating his commitment to repeal Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, but words do not end discrimination – actions do,” said Equality California Executive Director Geoff Kors. “We call on President Obama to immediately cease discharging openly lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender service members and to take a stand for equality in the military. Thousands of LGBT service members have bravely served our nation, and they deserve the same protections as all Americans. We urge President Obama and Congress to act swiftly to overturn this discriminatory policy.

Lambda Legal:

We have heard promises before about ending ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ and we welcome the President’s statement tonight that the time has finally come to fulfill that promise. Very little has changed since Lambda Legal represented Colonel Margarethe Cammermeyer 18 years ago after she was discharged for being a lesbian. Changing this discriminatory policy is long overdue. The military is our nation’s largest employer and this government sanctioned discrimination must end. We will continue to advocate for the repeal of DADT so that gay and lesbian services members and their families can serve openly and with the same support afforded to other military families.

SLDN:

SLDN Applauds President’s Commitment to Repeal DADT in 2010

WASHINGTON, DC – Servicemembers Legal Defense Network applauds President Obama’s remarks tonight on DADT. He said, “This year, I will work with Congress and our military to finally repeal the law that denies gay Americans the right to serve the country they love because of who they are.”

“We applaud the President tonight for his call to Congress to repeal ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ this year,” said Aubrey Sarvis, executive director of SLDN. “We very much need a sense of urgency to get this done in 2010. We call on the President to repeal the DADT law in his defense budget currently being drafted, which is probably the only and best-moving bill where DADT can be killed this year.”

National Gay & Lesbian Task Force:

President Obama tonight vowed this year to work with Congress and the military to finally repeal the reprehensible ban on openly lesbian, gay and bisexual service members. While we know the State of the Union speech aims to present broad visions, the next time President Obama speaks to or about our community, he must provide a concrete blueprint for his leadership and action moving forward — this includes his willingness to stop the discharges happening on his watch until Congress can fulfill its responsibility to overturn the law. The time for broad statements is over. The time to get down to business is overdue. We wish we had heard him speak of concrete steps tonight.

And the Joint Chiefs of Staff reaction to the news (image via JMG). Which was not all that different from John McCain’s, who issued a statement moments after Obama’s words on DADT:

In his State of the Union address, President Obama asked Congress to repeal the ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ policy. I am immensely proud of, and thankful for, every American who wears the uniform of our country, especially at a time of war, and I believe it would be a mistake to repeal the policy.

This successful policy has been in effect for over fifteen years, and it is well understood and predominantly supported by our military at all levels. We have the best trained, best equipped, and most professional force in the history of our country, and the men and women in uniform are performing heroically in two wars. At a time when our Armed Forces are fighting and sacrificing on the battlefield, now is not the time to abandon the policy.

McCain’s words weren’t that far off from the Family Research Council’s statement (via PHB):

Last night in his State of the Union Address, President Obama repeated his call for Congress to repeal the military eligibility law that was passed in 1993, and to allow homosexual conduct within the ranks of the armed forces.

This would put our military in the strange position of actively recruiting personnel who have an expressed intention to violate the Uniform Code of Military Justice (which still prohibits certain forms of sexual conduct, including homosexuality). Forcing soldiers to cohabit with people who view them as sexual objects would inevitably lead to increased sexual tension, sexual harassment, and even sexual assault. America’s military exists to fight and win wars –not to engage in radical social engineering.

Like equality for its soliders.

My reaction to Obama’s DADT languageAMERICAblog Gay is more optimistic:

I think it was good . . . Here’s why:
1. The SOTU matters.
2. The President said “this year.” That’s a timeline, baby.
3. The President said he would work with Congress and the military. He didn’t call on Congress to act, putting the burden on them, which many of us feared he might. He took responsibility for working with Congress and the military. That’s good.
4. He said “repeal.” He didn’t say “change,” which he and his people have been saying a lot lately, especially in front of straight audiences. He said “repeal.” That’s good.
5. He added the “it’s the right thing to do” remark. That wasn’t in his prepared statements. It’s subtle, but it means he knows this specific promise matters.

The LA Times also remarks on the timetable:

President Obama said he wanted action this year to abolish policies that prohibited gays from openly serving in the military, for the first time establishing a timetable for one of his long-held goals.

Obama called for repeal of the 1993 “don’t ask, don’t tell” law near the end of his State of the Union speech, addressing the issue in a single, passing mention, but rekindling the debate between supporters and opponents of the move.

Although the Washington Post disagrees that a deadline was established at all:

Reaching out to a skeptical gay community, President Barack Obama on Wednesday urged Congress to repeal the ban on gays and lesbians serving openly in the military, but he neither made a commitment to suspend the practice in the interim nor issued a deadline.

Liveblogging the Address, Andrew Sullivan wrote:

Ending DADT: it’s the right thing to do. But I note that he has committed only to working with Congress and the military to end the ban this year. If he achieves it, I will stand up and cheer. But I have experienced enough crushing disappointments to believe it will actually happen.

Finally, if you missed the speech, you can watch it below.


The full speech. And, you can read the full speech here.

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