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White House assures skeptics on 'don't ask'

By Ed O'Keefe

Eye Opener

The White House assured gay rights groups on Thursday evening that the Justice Department's decision to object to immediately ending the military's ban on openly gay service members in no way diminishes President Obama's goal of ending the "don't ask, don't tell" law.

Government lawyers responded on Thursday to a federal judge's recent ruling that the gay ban is unconstitutional by saying she should not enforce that ruling with a military-wide injunction banning the discharge of gay and lesbian service members.

The filing "clearly shows why Congress must act to end this misguided policy," White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said in a statement.

Obama was disappointed by Tuesday's Senate vote that failed to allow for debate to begin on the annual Defense policy bill that includes a repeal of the ban, Gibbs said. Despite the vote, the Pentagon continues to study how to implement a potential repeal and the White House will work with Senate Democrats to end the law, he said.

"This announcement is disappointing, but no surprise," said Aubrey Sarvis, executive director of the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, a group fighting to end the ban. "It underscores that we need the White House actively working repeal in the lame duck session, and making it a top priority."

But White House Deputy Chief of Staff Jim Messina assured students at his alma mater on Wednesday that the gay ban will be struck down soon.

"We're going to get that done this year," Messina said at the University of Montana, according to the Montana Kaimin campus newspaper.

Gay rights activists consider Messina's comments most critical since he brokered the deal in May that inserted repeal of DADT into the House and Senate versions of the Defense bill.

Despite Messina's assurances, the Human Rights Campaign -- a close partner of the Obama White House -- said Thursday that "the Justice Department has no obligation to defend a law that is wrong, discriminatory and not in the best national security interests of our country."

Make no mistake: Gay rights groups, and prominent gay Democrats are furious with Obama and his aides for not doing more to ensure this week's vote succeeded. They're tempering their frustrations now, but if the next round of Congressional votes fail, you should expect critics to speak up more forcefully.

Leave your thoughts in the comments section below

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Diplomats in Iraq at risk, commission says: Now that most U.S. military forces have left Iraq, the American diplomats they left behind face grave security problems that the State Department is ill-prepared to tackle.

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By Ed O'Keefe  | September 24, 2010; 6:00 AM ET
Categories:  Administration, Eye Opener, Military  
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This just gives Americans another feel good excuse to vote against any and all Obamacrats, this year and beyond.

The Obamanation: good for illegal "immigrants" and homosexuals. Bad for most every other American.

Posted by: battleground51 | September 24, 2010 8:54 AM | Report abuse

So with open homosexuals serving in the military, we could have cross dressing drill sergeants? I'll be betting on the taliban

Posted by: twharvey1 | September 24, 2010 9:26 AM | Report abuse

Gays are already Serving in the Military under cover of SILENCE.

Obama could end DADT today with a Stop Loss order.

Posted by: ddoiron1 | September 24, 2010 9:39 AM | Report abuse

What are you all squealing about over there? The British don't give a damn who fights wih them. DADT! what a load of nonsense!

Posted by: bstephens1 | September 24, 2010 9:47 AM | Report abuse

What's the matter with you over there? DADT indeed! British armed forces don't give a damn about who fights with them.

Posted by: bstephens1 | September 24, 2010 9:49 AM | Report abuse

Once again I can't tell the difference between Obama and Bush.

Posted by: Scrumble | September 24, 2010 10:00 AM | Report abuse

This is what a dictatorship looks like.

Posted by: kurttj2002 | September 24, 2010 10:41 AM | Report abuse

More empty promises from an empty White House. As an ex Obama-supporter who regrets every dollar he donated to his air-bag campaign, if Obama told me it was going to rain tomorrow I would plan a picnic. Why should the gay community or for that matter any community believe a word this man says?

Posted by: dre7861 | September 24, 2010 12:06 PM | Report abuse

How sad that the U.S. lags again in social consciousness. While we cling to antiquated notions more suited to a pioneer society of about three millions in a vast open land than to 300 million in an increasingly interdependent urban country, older modern countries adjust to reality. The U.S. is beginning to lag in almost every index of modern civilized society, growing sicker, less well educated, and less aware of our dependence on one another as the world passes us by. Insulting a tiny percentage of us over their sexual orientation even when it hurts military preparedness is simply stupid and self-defeating.

Posted by: paulco | September 24, 2010 12:15 PM | Report abuse

So with open homosexuals serving in the military, we could have cross dressing drill sergeants? I'll be betting on the taliban

Posted by: twharvey1

What an un-American thing to say. Probably posted by a self-hating gay dude.

Posted by: jake14 | September 24, 2010 12:41 PM | Report abuse

CHICAGO, Sept 23 (Reuters) - Nearly one in five gay and bisexual men in 21 major U.S. cities are infected with HIV, and nearly half of them do not know it, U.S. health officials said on Thursday.

Posted by: screwjob21 | September 24, 2010 1:12 PM | Report abuse

battleground51 said,
This just gives Americans another feel good excuse to vote against any and all Obamacrats, this year and beyond.

The Obamanation: good for illegal "immigrants" and homosexuals. Bad for most every other American.
Actually good for any american who has common decency and wants a fair judicial system, clear, obtainable path to citizenship for people working in the US and supporting our economy. The President of the United Farm Workers Union just offered a job to anyone who wants to relpace his workers by picking vegatables, etc sto come on down - so far, less than 50 people have responded.

Support the 13,000 gays who offered service to the US Mitialary in doing their jobs, only to have their careers ended because others saw them as a threat, not a colleague.

Posted by: cadam72 | September 24, 2010 1:16 PM | Report abuse

More doubletalk from Obama. I can't believe that he expects anybody to buy his empty rhetoric, when his anti-gay ACTIONS say it all.

It is crystal clear that Obama has no intention ever of doing ANYTHING to promote gay rights. Just the opposite.

Who does he think he's fooling???

Posted by: solsticebelle | September 24, 2010 1:17 PM | Report abuse

Gay and lesbian activists disrupted a bunch of Democratic events this week.

Gay and lesbians rights advocates must be some of the most emotionally immature activists in the entire political spectrum, left, right, and center.

Posted by: blasmaic | September 24, 2010 2:37 PM | Report abuse

"CHICAGO, Sept 23 (Reuters) - Nearly one in five gay and bisexual men in 21 major U.S. cities are infected with HIV, and nearly half of them do not know it, U.S. health officials said on Thursday.

Posted by: screwjob21 | September 24, 2010 1:12 PM | Report abuse"

So what, gay men can't serve because there's a 20% chance they MIGHT have HIV?

So what about this?
"At the end of 2007, blacks accounted for almost half (46%) of people living with a diagnosis of HIV infection in the 37 states and 5 US dependent areas with long-term, confdential, name-based HIV reporting."

So should be ban all black people from serving in the military as well?

If you don't want HIV positive people in the military, then why not simply ban HIV positive people? Why go after gays with torches and pitchforks?

Because you HATE gay Americans and you especially HATE gay troops. You HATE our troops. Those statistics are just an excuse. You HATE out troops, you HATE gay Americans, you HATE America.

Gay American Soldiers LOVE America so much that they are willing to DIE defending this country. Americans recognize that and thats why over 70% of Americans support a repeal of Don't Ask Don't Tell. You are UNAMERICAN.

Posted by: paulflorez | September 24, 2010 3:35 PM | Report abuse

How idiotic. We don't have 60 votes in the US Senate. DADT repeal is DOA until the makeup of the US Senate changes. In November it gets worse.

Posted by: AndrewW1 | September 24, 2010 4:20 PM | Report abuse

If Obama was so disappointed by Tuesday's Senate vote, then why wasn't he on the phone prior to that vote trying to ensure it's success with reluctant senators? And, if the President couldn't bring himself to try to ensure the success of the repeal on Tuesday, why would I believe that he has any more commitment to brokering a repeal by year end, as Messina promises.

Sorry, Mr. President, but these assurances are just more lies to try to placate your base prior to the November midterms. Take it from me, we don't believe you any more. Joe Wilson was right.

Posted by: tomsj | September 24, 2010 5:20 PM | Report abuse

Why does this administration continue to defend the indefensible? The Obama administration should take a page from California's book where Schwarzenegger and Brown refuse to appeal the Prop 8 ruling.

Posted by: ColleenHarper | September 25, 2010 11:01 AM | Report abuse

Obama is such a liar.

Posted by: solsticebelle | September 25, 2010 12:49 PM | Report abuse

Amazing the hatred against gay soldiers. From the talibangelicals in this country. the same people who scream about national security and terrorism.

And showers- gays shower every day with str8 soldiers, eat with them, sleep in the same quarters with them. And save their lives mutually .

Lets understand the UNSPOKEN issue here. As soon as our str8 troops discover that some of the people they respect, trust with their lives and live with in the barracks are gay, there is no amount of preaching and religious hatred that will bring all those good christian str8 boys back to church.

And it will be another step towards discovering that gays are not about 3% of the mil, but prob about 6%. People patriotic enough to die for a country that in many ways demonizes them.

With the end of DADt, the messages of the talibangelicals,and the catholic church hierarchy - hatred and demonization of gay people, will be ignored.

And the churches of hate will wither on the vine, the pews filled only with dust. As is happening all over Europe and to a large extent in Latin America.

So the battle is not over gays serving openly, but the survival of the institutions that preach hatred in the name of God.

For hatred has always been the product that flies off the shelf

Go ask the ghosts of Europe's Jews, Germany's gays, and lots of other victims of a still unexcommunicated Catholic named hitler.

And ask the ghosts of upwards of 40 million Africans kidnapped and sold into slavery in the west. By thetalibangelicals' forefathers. The same gang who also created the KKK and segregation.

Who have a new group to hate, to keep the business going, and the profits of power and money.

Each of which beget the other.

While those people keep punching their own tickets to hell, unfortunately their departure times are decades away.

Posted by: SJames6621 | September 26, 2010 1:03 PM | Report abuse

All those people saying that gays or lesbians shouldn't be in the military need to get there facts straight cause its not as if they chose to be gay. They might have been born that way and they are people too. They have the same rights that straight people do and should be allowed to use them to protect our country which your not doing right now by discriminating againist them

Posted by: Gamer516 | September 26, 2010 8:34 PM | Report abuse

Congress was right in 1993 when it found that homosexuality is incompatible with military service. Nothing has changed since then to make it any more compatible.

Gays in the military is one of the Big Things that the coming electoral rout of liberal Democrats is all about.

We're not going to have it, and that's that.

Posted by: JMosesBrowning | September 27, 2010 11:26 AM | Report abuse

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