Two sides of the same coin: Dan Choi, White House’s Brian Bond on DADT legislative repeal

It’s been a long historic day and the reactions have run the gamut from “you know it played out just as the President planned” (the brilliant 12 dimensional chess strategy meme), to “HRC claiming any responsibility for this is BS” to “it couldn’t be done without “X” (as in there’s a single reason for DADT’s legislative repeal).

As always, I think the truth lies somewhere in the middle. I’m not sure why any one faction has to “claim” victory — that seems very Beltway, as opposed to the big picture that there was a win today, one with an incomplete asterisk next to it.

A promise to repeal the discriminatory policy of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell is exactly that – repealing the impact of the policy itself. That was made quite clear — from SLDN’s cautionary warning to service members not to come out yet, to HRC’s victory post saying the same thing.

Here are two examples of viewing the glass of pre-victory from today. First, Brian Bond, Deputy Director of the Office of Public Engagement at the White House (a.k.a. the “LGBT liaison”) has a post up: “Ending Don’t Ask Don’t Tell.”

Today, I had one of those “once in a lifetime” moments.  As I sat in the Senate Gallery with my bosses, White House Senior Advisor Valerie Jarrett, Deputy Chief of Staff Jim Messina and Director of the Office of Public Engagement Tina Tchen, I saw history being made as the US Senate voted 65 to 31 to pass the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell Repeal Act of 2010.  I am proud of the many leaders in Congress and all those who have worked to put an end to DADT.  And I’m proud of the President for his leadership on this issue.   It has been a long time getting here and it has been a struggle – but as the President has said many times, “Change isn’t easy.” But today we took a huge step forward to set right a wrong.

Last December about this time, I was at a small event in the Roosevelt Room.  The President was just getting ready to leave for the Christmas Holiday.  He walked over to me and without missing a beat, put his hand on my shoulder, and I will never forget what he said to me – unsolicited — “We are going to end Don’t Ask Don’t Tell.  We have a little bit of work to do still, but we are going to get it done.”  A month later, in his first State of the Union Address, the President said, “This year, I will work with Congress and our military to finally repeal the law that denies gay Americans the right to serve the country they love because of who they are.  It’s the right thing to do.”

Now I am sure that there will be many stories written about what happened and how we got here, but for me, the key part of the story that I will never forget is that commitment from the President.   Nor will I ever forget the brave men and women who have served with distinction who also happen to be gay or lesbian.  Throughout the course of this effort, I have been privileged to meet some amazing heroes who just wanted to serve their country.  I will carry their stories with me for the rest of my life.

Dan Choi (who is out of the hospital and received his Blend “get well card” today), has a piece up at Huff Po — “Congress Repeals DADT” — and strikes a different tone.

No revolution towards justice ever went backwards. To all the supporters of equality and Don’t Ask Don’t Tell’s death, I am so grateful. The road has not been easy. We have learned many important lessons about social justice, movements, supporting each other, and speaking out against discrimination.

The mission is not finished; it has only just begun. The most critical mission is supporting and encouraging closeted soldiers to finally access their full integrity, dignity, and humanity. This mission is in keeping with the first lessons learned at West Point or basic training. As the legislation signals a new chapter in our journey, we can be sure that our work has only begun. I call on all soldiers to gain the courage to come out. First come out to yourselves, then tell your trusted friends and family. Tell everyone who you trust and who deserves nothing less than truth. Stop hating yourselves as your country has signaled for so long. Furthermore, your coming out is not for you. It is for all those who come after. Military service is not about rank, pension or paycheck. Climbing the ladder is shameful without true purity of service and I applaud those who give up the superficial artifacts of career in favor of complete integrity and justice.

…President Obama, you are not off the hook. The compromise bill passed today puts the moral imperative squarely on your desk. Sign an executive order instituting a full non-discrimination policy throughout the military. If you do not, if you drag your feet and politicize this with your theoretical calculations as you have these past two years, you will be guilty of abetting those who loudly proclaim homophobia from their platforms and pulpits. Provide them no shelter or safe haven. Institute justice now.

Both points of view are personal, both stem from resolve to see equality happen, but there is no black and white to the struggle for equality, it involves many political shades of gray. For those who are so motivated by being “right” or on top politically, they don’t want to see that there are many routes to success along the way, that the spectrum of ideas and tactics were responsible for today’s step, not in spite of one viewpoint or another. That’s pretty disappointing, but not unexpected. There are many battles ahead, perhaps people can get their heads together after popping the champagne corks this evening.
Pam’s House Blend – Front Page

—  admin

Watch: The House’s Loudest Bigot Voice Against ‘DADT’ Repeal

Gohmert

It came from Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) who screeched that having gays in the military destroys nations.

Yelled Gohmert: "To my friend who said that history would judge us poorly, I would submit if you would look thoroughly at history — and I’m not saying it’s cause and effect — but when militaries throughout history of the greatest nations in the world have adopted the policy that “fine for homosexuality to be overt” — you can keep it private and control your hormones fine, if you can’t, that’s fine too — they’re toward the end of their existence as a great nation."

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP



Towleroad News #gay

—  admin

GetEQUAL strikes again with protest at White House’s Common Purpose meeting

UPDATE @ 11:01 PM Here’s the video of the group going after White House Deputy Chief of Staff Jim Messina, the man who claimed only a few months ago that DADT would be repealed this year.  How’s that plan going, Jim?

UPDATE @ 8:14 PM via email from GetEQUAL. It was quite a protest:

David Smith, Vice President of Policy and Strategy for the Human Rights Campaign, Winnie Stachelberg, Sr. VP for External Affairs for CAP; Rea Carey, Executive Director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, were greeted tonight by the protestors and asked to stand with the LGBT community and not attend the meeting. All three of them chose instead to cross the protest line and enter into the hotel. Smith refused saying, “I’m running late”.

Also, White House Deputy Chief of Staff Jim Messina was greeted tonight by protestors who chanted to him “Obama, What’s Your Plan?” and “Keep Your Promise!

Here’s a photo of Justin Elzie, Rob Smith and Scott Wooledge at the protest:

______________________
On Tuesday nights here in DC, there’s usually a gathering of White House staffers, often led by Deputy Chief of Staff Jim Messina, with leaders of progressive organizations. The meeting is called “Common Purpose,” but is better known as the “veal pen” — a term coined by Jane Hamsher. Basically, the White House gives the groups their marching orders — and most of the groups have done as instructed. We can see how well that’s worked.

Among those attending the meeting tonight are CAP’s Winnie Stachelberg and HRC’s V.P. David Smith. Rea Carey from the Task Force is there, too. (UPDATE: Just learned Messina was there.)

Tonight, the Common Purpose attendees were met by representatives from GetEQUAL, including seven of the DADT protesters who were arrested yesterday for handcuffing themselves to the White House fence. They decided to directly address the progressive leaders, because as the sign notes, “There’s no common purpose without equality.”

From GetEQUAL’s press release:

This evening, seven of the original 13 LGBT veterans and advocates who were arrested yesterday at the White House fence, stood outside of the Capitol Hilton (1001 16th Street NW) to protest the White House’s “Common Purpose” meeting, a mostly secret, low-profile gathering of White House officials and institutional, progressive organizations aimed at controlling the agenda and messaging around those issues, which includes lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) issues. The invite-only meeting, first launched back in 2009 by White House Chief of Staff Rahmn Emanuel, White House Deputy Chief of Staff Jim Messina and others, has been previously criticized by liberal, progressive bloggers and advocates for its attempt to shut-down any resistance to the White House’s strategy by instilling fear of retribution amongst the organizations invited.

Here’s the quote from GetEQUAL’s Heather Cronk via Politico:

“The White House’s Common Purpose meeting is the primary way that progressive ideas and values supported by a majority of Americans are being upended and compromised,” said Cronk in an email to POLITICO. “We are calling on the progressive groups attending these meetings to shake free the yoke of White House staff who are refusing to push forward the progressive ideals that President Obama campaigned on.”

Here are the messages the will greet the Common Purpose attendees tonight. I’ll post more about the protest when I get more details:







AMERICAblog Gay

—  admin

White House’s ‘duty to defend the law’ argument comes crashing down

Even the National Law Journal is now beating up on the Obama administration, and saying that the White House’s talking point about having no choice but to defend DADT in court is utter bull. I hope someone sends all of these articles to Valerie Jarrett so she can see why everyone is eviscerating her for alleging, repeatedly, that DOJ simply must defend all laws. It’s flat out untrue, as we’ve been saying for well over a year.  Unfortunately, this article is behind a firewall, but the summary tells you all you need to know.

DUTY TO DEFEND?:
The Obama administration opposes “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” but it’s still poised to defend the law all the way to the Supreme Court. Justice Department officials say they are duty-bound to defend an act of Congress. Yet history shows that this argument doesn’t always apply. During the last six years, according to records maintained by the Senate, the Bush and Obama administrations told Congress 13 times that they were not defending a federal law in court.

And a reader sent me the article.  Here’s a small excerpt:

In 1992, back when Congress could occasionally agree on something, there was bipartisan anger over a beverage called Crazy Horse Malt Liquor because it insulted the memory of a Native American chief who happened to frown on alcohol.

Congress quickly passed a law barring federal approval of any beer label that displayed the words “Crazy Horse.” The brewer promptly sued, and not surprisingly a federal judge found the law unconstitutional under the First Amendment.

When the question of whether to appeal the ruling in Hornell Brewing Co. v. Brady arose, then-Solicitor General Drew Days III decided it would be futile; the law was beyond rescue. “Congress seemed to accept the decision not to go forward,” Days wrote later.

So much for the vaunted governmental “duty to defend” acts of Congress, which has been invoked often in recent weeks in connection with the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” law barring gays from the military — a law that the Obama administration opposes but still is poised to defend. In cases much bigger than Crazy Horse — think Buckley v. Valeo and INS v. Chadha — SGs have been throwing provisions of federal laws under the bus for decades. And Senate records show that, 13 times in the past six years, during both the Bush and Obama administrations, the Justice Department has told Congress it is not defending an act of Congress.




AMERICAblog Gay

—  admin