President Obama discussed Don’t Ask Don’t Tell in remarks yesterday morning after his post-election press conference:
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Transcript courtesy Queerty (I’ve filled in some of the gaps that they missed):
I’ve been a strong believer in the notion that if somebody is willing to serve in our military, in uniform, putting their lives on the line for our security, that they should not be prevented from doing so because of their sexual orientation. And since there’s been a lot of discussion of polls over the past 48 hours, I think it’s worth noting that the overwhelming majority of Americans feel the same way. It’s the right thing to do.
Now, as commander-in-chief, I’ve said that making this change needs to be done in an orderly fashion, and I’ve worked with the Pentagon, worked with Secretary Gates, worked with Admiral Mullen, to make sure that we are looking at this in a systematic way that maintains good order and discipline, but that we need to change this policy. There’s going to be a review that comes out at the beginning of the month that will have surveyed attitudes and opinions within the armed forces. I will expect that Secretary of Defense Gates and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mullen will have something to say about that review. I will look at it very carefully, but that will give us time to act, potentially during the lame duck session to change this policy.
Keep in mind, we’ve got a bunch of court cases that are out there as well, and something that would be very disruptive to good order and discipline and unit cohesion is if we’ve got this issue bouncing around in the courts as it already has over the last several weeks, where the Pentagon and the chain of command doesn’t know at any given time what rules they’re working under. We need to provide certainty. And it’s time for us to move this policy forward. This should not be a partisan issue. This is an issue as I’ve said where you’ve got a sizable portion of the American people squarely behind the notion that folks who are willing to serve on our behalf should be treated fairly and equally.
Given the make-up of the next Congress, policymakers will have just one more chance to clear the way for repealing the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy — and it will come during the lame-duck Senate session that begins in two weeks. If the effort fails, it will be at least two years, and probably more, before anyone can even try again.
DADT’s fate in December will depend largely upon whether at least two Republicans will be willing to vote for its repeal. Writes Benet,
In about a month’s time, a majority of the troops, a majority of American civilians, a majority of the House, a majority of the Senate, the Commander in Chief, the Secretary of Defense, and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs and two of his recent predecessors will all be saying the exact same thing: it’s time to end “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”
And in all likelihood, it’ll be up to Republican Sens. Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe of Maine to decide whether the repeal effort lives or dies.