Discharged sailor Tim Beauchamp: My Reaction to the Overturning of DADT

Note from Joe: Tim served for four years in the US Navy. He was discharged from the Navy for being gay in 1988. That was even before the DADT law took effect. An August 2001 AP article, which can be read here, explained provided details on Tim’s military career and discharge while noting how one of Tim’s poems was included in a Smithsonian exhibit on Submarines the Cold War.
I was asked to speak at my faith community, yesterday, regarding the overturning of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell. I shared my story of serving as Protestant Lay Reader on submarines, and my outing and discharge just in case those in attendance were unaware of my history. I then added:

I heard someone claim on a cable news network that as a member of the LGBT community that this repeal is a small step where they felt just a little more equal today as an American citizen. I respectfully disagree with that particular take. What has happened can not be underestimated. It is huge. Our enemies have used that particular argument that gays can not serve alongside straight troops to effectively argue against the recognition of our equality and civil rights. We have also learned, as a community, that even though we have been promised by our friends to work on our behalf that we can not afford, for one moment, to allow them to rest on those promises alone. Action must be demanded in order for our friends to be motivated to follow through on those promises.

Yesterday was a great day for us in the history of the civil rights movement for the LGBT community. Yesterday was just one step on our march to recognition of our full equality. Yesterday was just the beginning but yesterday, was absolutely huge in our struggle! Mark yesterday as the beginning of the end of institutionalized discrimination by our government towards our LGBT community. Our enemies know this, as evidenced by McCain’s meltdown, and we know this. We must use take this win and inertia provided to move us forward to full inclusion in the promises enshrined in our constitution.

I have to thank John and Joe for providing me this forum as a writer for AMERICAblog Gay, and allowing me to be part of this change in my small way. It takes every single one of us to achieve these victories.


—  admin

NYT: Obama let Gates ‘set a slow pace in overturning’ DADT

You may recall that on April 30, 2010, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates sent a “strongly worded” letter to Capitol Hill making it clear that he did not want legislative action on the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell this year. That confirmed what SLDN had been hearing via “multiple reports” from Capitol Hill: Obama administration officials had been urging Congress not to vote on DADT this year.

It was Obama who repeatedly promised to end DADT — and he reaffirmed that commitment in his State of the Union. But, Obama has let Gates set the agenda on DADT:

Mr. Obama has relied on Mr. Gates as his ambassador to the military and deferred to him repeatedly. When Mr. Gates wanted to force out Gen. David D. McKiernan in May 2009 as commander in Afghanistan in favor of Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal, Mr. Obama signed off. Likewise, cognizant of Bill Clinton’s ill-fated effort to end the ban on gay and lesbian soldiers, Mr. Obama let Mr. Gates set a slow pace in overturning the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy, even though it has disappointed gay rights advocates.

Yes, that “slow pace” it has indeed disappointed gay rights advocates. We’re going to be even more disappointed — actually quite angry — if the compromise DADT repeal language isn’t signed into law this year. The looming problem is that the “slow pace” set by Gates may take us into the next Congress. And, if Democrats lose control of the House, there will be no repeal.

Let’s hope Jim Messina, who (along with CAP’s Winnie Stachelberg) concocted the DADT repeal compromise, has a strategy to make sure the Defense Authorization bill, which contains the DADT repeal language, is signed by the President this year. The GOPers are going to do their part to prevent that from happening.


—  John Wright