Obama Administration to start process following Saturday speech to gays
Senator Joseph Lieberman (I-CT), a ranking member of the Senate Armed Services Committee and a long time opponent of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" (DADT), is in discussions with the White House to sponsor the Senate version of a House bill introduced last month to eliminate the controversial law.
Should he sign on, Lieberman, who has a solid, successful reputation for reaching across the aisle, will be a staunch ally for the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgendered (LGBT) community as his experience and tenure in the Senate are extensive.
The President has been under intense fire from gay groups who have not seen any action on the part of the Administration for gay issues. In the 2008 election, Obama garnered LGBT votes with broad campaign promises regarding DADT and repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).
In a speech October 10, 2009 to a group of more than 3,000 at the Human Rights Campaign dinner in Washington, D.C., Obama reiterated his support of the DADT repeal.
"On "Don't Ask, Don't tell", this administration is talking directly to the Hill -- we are in direct discussions with Senator Lieberman," John Berry, White House Director of the Office of Personnel Management and the highest ranking openly gay official in the Administration, told the Boston Globe
"Senator Lieberman will be a great advocate for our cause in the Senate" said Matthew Robitaille to ChicagoPride.com. Robitaille is a gay veteran of the U.S. Coast Guard, Massachusetts native and now Chicagoan. "There is no question but that DADT influenced my decision to leave the military."
A Senate bill would coordinate with legislation introduced last month in the House by Rep. Patrick Murphy (D-PA) and co-sponsored by Congressman Mike Quigley (D-IL).
Congressman Quigley told ChicagoPride.com: "As I've said before, Don't Ask Don't Tell is not only morally repugnant, but with every translator we discharge under the policy, it's making us less safe as well. Whether it comes from someone in Chicago, Washington, or from our frontlines overseas, every brave voice matters so that soon we can stop discussing "if," but rather "when" to repeal this policy. We have more work ahead of us, but I'm encouraged by this development. Every step in this direction is one step closer to equality and non-discrimination."
In addition to protests and complaints from LGBT groups, a recently released report from the Pentagon, written by Col. Om Prakash and titled "The Efficacy of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" concluded that there was no basis for the policy.
The fact that the Pentagon allowed publication of this essay speaks volumes.
Jim Darby, President of Chicago American Veteran's for Equal Rights (AVER), a gay Korean War Veteran and Chicago resident offered the following to ChicagoPride.com on the Prakash essay: "Col Prakash tackles all the 'hot spots' and arguments that many use to deny gays the opportunity to serve their country - unit cohesion, mass exodus of service members if the ban is lifted, and security risks. And he provides ample evidence that all of these arguments are simply not true."
Darby continued "He does bring out some interesting information that quite often is overlooked…there are many qualified gay men and women who have served and simply did not re-enlist because of personal conflict with the policy. The question of 'unit cohesion' obviously it works for 24 other countries, it certainly should work here."
"I find his article a breath of fresh air with all the negative coverage of gays in the military. I will be looking forward to see the reaction of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and President Obama" Darby concluded.
"The Efficacy of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell", written by Col. Om Prakash, can be seen in complete form at http://www.ndu.edu/inss/Press/jfq_pages/editions/i55/14.pdf.