If I had to guess, I’d guess that the White House thinks that having Obama show up to speak at HRC’s dinner Saturday night is enough. The DNC can then add this speech to the list of Obama’s accomplishments. That might have worked in the 90s. But, most of the LGBT community has moved way past symbolism and speeches.
So, the White House may think a speech is enough, but that speech better have some specifics. The latest to weigh in with an expectation is Lt. Col. Victor Fehrenbach, who is on the verge of getting kicked out of the military because of DADT. Fehrenbach spoke to Obama at the cocktail party back in June. He’s still waiting for Obama to follow through. Via press release from SLDN:
On Saturday, President Obama is scheduled to give the keynote address to the Human Rights Campaign’s annual dinner in Washington, D.C. More than 65,000 LGBT patriots will be listening to what Obama has to say about repealing “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” the law that bars openly gay and lesbian service members from serving their country.
One of those patriots is Lt. Col. Victor Fehrenbach, a Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (SLDN) active-duty client who is set to be discharged under the law.
“The President told me in June, ‘We’ll get this done,'” says Fehrenbach, referring to the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” “I hope to hear from him this weekend about timing-specifically when the President plans on working with Congress to reverse the law.”
Fehrenbach continues. “I understand the President has a crowded agenda, but I have been serving under this law for 16 years. I also know that ending this law in a matter of months will take the same kind of leadership and courage demonstrated by President Truman 60 years ago when he desegregated the Armed Forces.”
It’s bad enough that the White House thinks a speech is enough. It’s worse that some in the LGBT community think that getting a cocktail party or a mention in a proclamation is enough. That’s why the words of Victor Fehrenbach are important. This is about his life. And, he’s just asking Obama do what Obama said he would do.