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Comment on Obama's State of the Union Address Pledge to Repeal Don't Ask, Don't Tell

GLN permalink 1-29-2010

Wednesday night President Obama reiterated his pledge to repeal "Don't Ask, Don't Tell." But as many bloggers have noted, he could have issued a stop/loss order to stop the anti-gay purges on Day 1 when he had the political capital to do it. Now, when he's politically considerably weaker, with double-digit unemployment, his health insurance plan taking on water and Democratic congressmen running for political cover, he has reiterated this pledge, this time saying he'll do it this year.

But those of us who take a broad view of human rights remember a similar pledge being made about closing Guantanamo Bay in a year, the deadline for which passed, a pledge that's made even more hollow by insulting proposals like Guantanamo on the Mississippi, continued military tribunals, and extraordinary renditions.

In a move reminiscent of Defense Secretary Les Aspin in 1993 when President Clinton's pledge to end the ban on gays was swiftly sinking, a few weeks ago administration officials floated the idea of 'solving' employment discrimination in the military by setting up separate units for openly gay and lesbian soldiers -- the odious stench of 'separate but equal' institutions in the 21st Century.

President Obama tonight noted that "we face a deficit of trust." What he failed to note was that with broken promises and proposals like 'separate but equal,' is it any wonder?

Andy Thayer, co-founder, GLN


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