UPDATE, 2 p.m.: SLDN has issued a national action alert on DADT. For more, go here.
Gay-rights activists strongly disagree (what else is new???) about whether a compromise announced Monday on “don’t ask don’t tell” is a good thing. For a decent summation of the two views, go here and here. As for me, I’m aligning myself with Tarrant County’s Dave Guy-Gainer, a board member for the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network who said the following in an e-mail just moments ago:
We are now at 48 hours and counting. The events of yesterday brought about an agreement between those fighting for the demise of DADT; the White House; members of both the House and Senate; and the DOD as to how repeal CAN move forward. Never in its history have we been at such a cooperative juncture.
Secretary Gates, the President, and Congress are now in sync and Congress is not being asked to delay action. Delay beyond this session most likely would have been a death knell to repeal in any form. Congress is no longer fearful of casting a vote without DOD’s buy in. The power of Executive Order in dealing with open service will be clearly restored to the President. The LAW that says we are “incompatible with military service” will be erased from the books. Repeal allows the DOD to complete its study of HOW inclusion will happen and NOT IF it should without the continual disruption of partisan politics and the anti-gay rhetoric of those who support discrimination. Repeal of the law will enable those like Admiral Mullen to finally take action and not just wrestle with the wrongness he feels in his heart.
There is no Alexandrian solution to untying the Gordian knot that was created by the 17-year existence of DADT. In fact, the very law that is being repealed has tied the hands of those who have wanted to see its demise. After this repeal, inclusion and open service WILL happen. We have the majority of the nation on our side. We have a military that understands that LGB people currently serve, and they need to be protected from being discharged for who they are. Remember, we have Carl Levin and not Sam Nunn in a position to hold the DOD accountable. We have become a creditor and not a debtor.
BUT, the war is still not won. The Senate Armed Services Committee must still vote and the revised Bill must pass a floor vote in the House. All of this will occur before Friday’s start of the Memorial Day recess. We still don’t have enough assured votes on the SASC and perhaps not enough members in the House to be able to end this 96-hour war with an assured victory. We could have that assurance IF we encourage the President to pick up the phone and call the non-committed members of the SASC and to call Rep Patrick Murphy to see where Presidential capital could be applied.