Joe and I were just informed that the White House congressional liaison office is telling US House members not to include the repeal of “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” in the Defense Authorization bill, and not to have a vote on DADT on the House floor, this year. This would be at odds with the promise the President made in the State of the Union to repeal DADT this year, but it would be consistent with all other signs coming from the White House.
As you recall, Congressman Barney Frank, who is openly gay, recently said that he is “frustrated” and “disappointed” with the Obama administration’s efforts (or lack thereof) to repeal DADT. Frank went on to directly criticize the lack of leadership from President Obama on this issue:
“His not being for it will give people an excuse to not vote for it. Thing is – we’ve done hate crimes. We do ENDA. It’s a big agenda all at once. At this point – the President’s refusal to call for repeal this year is a problem.”
President Obama is now actually hurting the effort to get DADT repealed. He is costing us votes. And remember, we are in serious danger of losing the House to the Republicans this November. If that happens, we won’t see DADT repealed, ENDA, DOMA, or any other part of our civil rights agenda move forward for years to come. Last time it took 14 years to win the Congress back from the GOP, and even then, we had to wait for a Democratic president before we could move forward – and even then, it isn’t moving forward.
Our number one gay rights lobby, the Human Rights Campaign, told us that DADT would be repealed this year. You heard it directly from the mouth of HRC’s President Joe Solmonese. Is HRC even talking to the White House? It’s hard to believe that we were able to find out that the White House is undercutting DADT on the Hill, that Barney Frank knows it, but HRC doesn’t. So what exactly is HRC doing about it? We don’t need HRC going through the motions, holding ineffective “lobby days.” We need HRC to tell the White House and the Hill to pass the damn repeal this year. From what we hear, that isn’t happening.