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Betting against Gates on "don't ask don't tell"

The 17-year-old "don't ask don't tell" policy that has forced gay men and lesbians to lie about who they are in order to serve their country -- lest they be kicked out for acknowledging the truth in any manner -- is almost history. The Senate Armed Services Committee voted 16 to 12 yesterday for its repeal in an amendment to the defense spending bill. And the House followed suit with a vote of 234 to 194.

Honor is due Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.), the committee's chairman, and Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.), for getting it through the process in the Senate. But no one deserves more praise for shear determination to get the gay military ban repealed than Rep. Patrick Murphy (D-Penn.). The Iraq War veteran worked the halls like a battlefield general to secure the votes he needed to get the bill passed. Keep in mind, Murphy is up for reelection. That he took on this fight with energy and passion, knowing it could hurt him back home, is the very definition of leadership. You know who else needs a pat on the back? Those members of Congress who didn't sign on with Murphy as a co-sponsor but who promised him a yes vote when the time came. Last week, Murphy had 199 sponsors. He needed 217 to assure passage. To those 35 who voted to allow gay men and lesbians to serve openly in the military, thank you.

We're not completely there yet, though.

The Senate Armed Services Committee vote was key. In order for the "don't ask don't tell" repeal to be removed from the defense spending bill, 60 votes will be needed in the full Senate to strip it before the legislation goes to a final vote. But 60 votes will also be needed to stop a filibuster once the bill does come to the floor. Over in the House, members now have to vote on the entire defense bill, which contains the repeal. It also contains another item that has already earned it a veto threat. Seems that the House put in money for a fighter jet engine program that Defense Secretary Robert Gates doesn't want. The senate committee opted not to include the program in its bill. Nevertheless, Gates will push President Obama hard for a veto if it ends up in the final bill.

Politico's Jen DiMascio shines a spotlight on the worrisome dynamic at play now. "With the engine money and don't ask don't tell," she writes, "Obama is situated between a promise he's made to his most powerful Cabinet member and his liberal base of support on a landmark civil rights issue." I hope it doesn't get to that point. But if it does I want Gates to lose.

By Jonathan Capehart  | May 28, 2010; 8:18 AM ET
Categories:  Capehart  | Tags:  Jonathan Capehart  
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Comments

Congress cannot find time to issue a budget but they have time for this? Jobs and the economy remain main issues for the Nation and these nimrods fiddle while Rome burns.

Posted by: Bubbette1 | May 28, 2010 11:29 AM | Report abuse

The homosexualization of America's military forces is yet another nail in the coffin of the Obama administration. Our military is the best in the world for many reasons. It is not broken but the Obama fools want to fix it anyway.

To risk the best in the world status on the behalf of a tiny minority of sexually disoriented misfits is the simply insane.

Mark this day. It is the beginning of the end for the best in the world.

France!...we are becoming as you.

Posted by: battleground51 | May 28, 2010 11:29 AM | Report abuse

Maybe when the ObamaNation is repealed in November the Republicans can repeal the repeal on DADT. Can that be done?

I can't wait to witness the first gay-pride, military parade down the main street of San Fransisco.

The beginning of Obama's NEGATIVE legacy.

Posted by: battleground51 | May 28, 2010 11:36 AM | Report abuse

My father told me that there were gays in the military during WWII. My uncles told me that there were gays in the military in the Korean War. I know there were gays in the military during the Vietnam conflict. The simply truth is that there almost certainly have always been gays in the military. The question going forward is will the military be able to devise sensible rules and enforcement. The second question is will the gays accept the military's rules and live by them. The third question is will the wider communities gay and straight accept and live with the military's rules. These are questions that need to be asked and answered, but, sadly, I see no one asking or answering them.

Posted by: jeffreed | May 28, 2010 2:20 PM | Report abuse


This thing needs to be retroactive! I say go back to signing of DADT.

Then, we prosecute every service member that came out of the closet on their own to get out of Deployment, Iraq, Afghanistan, ect as the cowardly deserters they are.

Posted by: gregegger | May 28, 2010 2:56 PM | Report abuse

@jeffreed - "The simply truth is that there almost certainly have always been gays in the military."

--

Correct. Gay and lesbian Americans have served with honor, courage and patriotism in all of our armed forces throughout our history.

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@jeffreed - "The question going forward is will the military be able to devise sensible rules and enforcement."

--

Rules for what? Why do you think additional rules are necessary?

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@jeffreed - "The second question is will the gays accept the military's rules and live by them."

--

Gay and lesbian service members have been accepting the military's rules and conforming to them throughout our history. Why do you think this might change with the repeal of DADT?

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@jeffreed -- "The third question is will the wider communities gay and straight accept and live with the military's rules."

--

Again, why would current levels of conformity with military rules be any different with the repeal of DADT? Are you worried about openly gay and lesbian service members being mistreated? Or worse?

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@jeffreed -- "These are questions that need to be asked and answered, but, sadly, I see no one asking or answering them."

--

I think your questions are overly vague. You seem to think that repeal of DADT will cause some sort of uprising against all military law, regulations, etc. I don't understand that.

All the repeal of DADT will do is to allow gay and lesbian service members to live honestly and openly. Nothing else needs to change.

Posted by: kpharmer | May 28, 2010 3:21 PM | Report abuse

I wish that @kpharmer was correct and that needed to be done is repeal DADT. However, life is not quite that simple. I have no desire to get into a long discussion and will only make one point. Suppose someone is a gay man is a resident of Massachusetts, marries a gay man, and then joins the military. Does the military recognize the marriage? Under current federal law as I understand it the federal government does not recognize gay marriage. Therefore, the army faces a problem. On the one hand the significant other of the serving military member should be entitled to spousal benefits and on the other hand federal law prohibits it. Is the spouse entitled to military housing? The real of DADT will not be the end of the road it will be the beginning of a long journey. This was my point and this is what I believe. It seems to be that this aspect of reality needs to be recognized. If I am wrong, so be it, but I doubt it.

Posted by: jeffreed | May 28, 2010 3:43 PM | Report abuse

I love all those who somehow believe that gays will make our military into a bunch of pansies. You know, these are the same groups that said Blacks would ruin the military. That women would ruin the military. If someone is willing to lay down his or her life to protect this country, I don't give a damn what religion, color, gender, or orientation they are. And neither should any of these bigots, most of whom I would bet never served a day in the military.

Posted by: mikel7 | May 28, 2010 5:53 PM | Report abuse

I love all those who somehow believe that gays will make our military into a bunch of pansies. You know, these are the same groups that said Blacks would ruin the military. That women would ruin the military. If someone is willing to lay down his or her life to protect this country, I don't give a damn what religion, color, gender, or orientation they are. And neither should any of these bigots, most of whom I would bet never served a day in the military.

Posted by: mikel7 | May 28, 2010 5:55 PM | Report abuse

Secretary Gates will obey whatever the law of the land is on homosexuals in the military. But he owes it to the nation and the President he serves to try and derail pork-barrel acquisition of equipment the DOD doesn't need but Congress wants to buy anyway.

Posted by: FlyFish59 | May 28, 2010 8:06 PM | Report abuse

Here is the roll call for the HOMOSEXUALS IN THE MILITARY bill:

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20100528/ap_on_el_ho/us_rollcall_gays_military_1

If you see a YES beside your Congressman's name, then vote him out of office.

REMEMBER IN NOVEMBER!

Posted by: penniless_taxpayer | May 28, 2010 10:34 PM | Report abuse

There is nothing that would please me more than for gay men and women to be able to serve in any field without discrimination. I have many gay friends and they are wonderful people. However, what I think isn't the issue.

The issue isn't what the polls say or what other countries do. The issue here is simple: Will the young men - and some women - who routinely make up the backbone of the US military continue to sign up and stay for years in the military if gays are allowed to serve. Right now we don't know and we better find out before doing anything.

The US all-volunteer military is the best in the world and it is the US, not France, not Australia, that is generally relied upon to do the heavy lifting. Israel has essentially a draft in which a broad spectrum of the country serves in the military. This is not true in the US.

If the young soldiers who now make up the ranks of those who do most of the killing and dying will not serve, will gays and their supporters eagerly come forward and take up the slack? I somehow doubt it.

If we go forward with this plan without seeking the input of these soldiers who actually make the military functional, I fear we will see an end of our military's effectiveness. It doesn't matter what a 'typical' 20-year old thinks because 'typical' 20-year-olds don't serve in our military.

It would be great if these young current and future soldiers say that it makes no difference to them. But they should be asked. The military is all volunteer and all these young men have to do is not volunteer any more.

Will you then support a draft?

Posted by: dflinchum | May 29, 2010 8:19 AM | Report abuse


Congress needs to get the dead plane out of there. If not, since Gates is for the repeal of DADT and more important even than dollars,hopefully he'll speak up and do what Murphy has done...what's right, not political. Letting the Pres. off the hook to not veto.
Then dump the plane with some amendment or, ha, 'repeal'?

Posted by: dcunning1 | May 29, 2010 10:23 PM | Report abuse


One of the reasons our military has been the best has to be because of the contributions of those who were soldiers as well as being gay. Since they have always been there, from the beginning, and many are still there and having to hide and remain invisible, we are still the best.
Let me say this...those who want the removal of those who enlisted, defend this country, risk their lives, must have the same guts and devotion and take their places.
Ha. Any takers? Ok. Go back to listening to your patron coward, Limbaugh. Sorry to interrupt.
We'll move on-- gay or not,real American soldiers have real work to do.

Posted by: dcunning1 | May 29, 2010 10:31 PM | Report abuse


One of the reasons our military has been the best has to be because of the contributions of those who were soldiers as well as being gay. Since they have always been there, from the beginning, and many are still there and having to hide and remain invisible, we are still the best.
Let me say this...those who want the removal of those who enlisted, defend this country, risk their lives, must have the same guts and devotion and take their places.
Ha. Any takers? Ok. Go back to listening to your patron coward, Limbaugh. Sorry to interrupt.
We'll move on-- gay or not,real American soldiers have real work to do.

Posted by: dcunning1 | May 29, 2010 10:32 PM | Report abuse

"A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed"

This is what the original intent of the second amendment to the Constitution was about, not individual gun ownership. It was about maintaining a militia made up of THE people - all people. They could have said a person's right but they didn't. By using the term the people they made it a collective right.

This amendment is one sentence but in the 20th century there was a propaganda effort to shorten and modify it in the minds of Americans to "The right of a person to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed". I have no problem with individual gun ownership but the change to the constitution should have come about through the process also outlined in the constitution - not through activist Supreme Court justices.

Posted by: timothy2me | May 31, 2010 7:42 AM | Report abuse

I wonder how many of the posters are Veterans?
I served 25 years in the Air Force and I support the repeal of DADT.

Posted by: larrysspam | May 31, 2010 9:21 AM | Report abuse

Of course the pinheads in congress know how to best manage the military! No matter that the service chiefs are against it Another step in the Secular-Socialism machine's "fubdamental transformation of America" promised by the president. America will rue the day this decision becomes law!

Posted by: emmettshortsr | May 31, 2010 9:22 AM | Report abuse

Our system of government is sooo broken. Case in point- The Congress of the United States (the House and now the Senate) is both threatening to FORCE the military to fund a fighter jet engine that the Secretary of Defense, the primary spokesman for the military, says it does not need or want. The idea is to get the SecDef to push the President to veto the legislation. Did I get that right? The military doesn't want it and the Congress is trying to force it on them. Have we allowed our Congress to go absolutely stark-raving mad?? Or, are they cold-blooded "gamblers" who are simply playing Russian roulette with the lives of our service members?

Posted by: paulmsmith | May 31, 2010 9:53 AM | Report abuse

Like everythng else that Obama wants to legislated, its rush, rush, rush. They couldn't even wait until the study of how soldiers feel about this is finished in December. Why take a chance on destroying the best military in the world? Our troops are now pushed to the limits. Maybe this is not good timing.
Obama does not care about the military, just his own far left agenga at any cost.

Posted by: joanz3 | May 31, 2010 10:28 AM | Report abuse

I think all GLBT people should not join the military until the bill passes. Those in already should not reenlist.

It is said we have the best military in the world. So without GLBT members, it will not hurt being the best and no gay person will die or be maimed while Bill Clinton's DADT stupit discriminatory policy is in place.

read Harv: http://theHARVviesw.blogspot.com

Posted by: HarveyY | May 31, 2010 1:09 PM | Report abuse

Just a "rhetorical question". If I'm straight, must I let everyone know? Is it anyone's business what my "sexual orientation" is? Anytime the government legislates that an "oppressed group" must have certain rights, then the "oppressed" become the "oppressors". Oh, and by the way, I know that this view is not a popular one, but popular views aren't necessarily right.

Posted by: barrysal | May 31, 2010 1:53 PM | Report abuse

To all the naysayers that have commented, bravo on your opinions, that right has been defended in part, by gays in the military since day one. Why should a persons sexual preference make any difference, in the military, or out? Alexander was by definition, at the least, a bisexual man, many noteworthy military folk throughout history have been gay. The Israeli army places no distinction, one way or the other on gays in their organization, and those guys are someone to definitely have your back in a conflict. I can only see positives in this legislation, a military person now can go about their business, keep their career path trending positively, without fear, or without having to play silly games. I do not think we will be seeing pink uniforms anytime soon.

Posted by: pressman123 | May 31, 2010 2:45 PM | Report abuse

I'm an Army veteran. Some of the soldiers I served with were gay. So what?

Posted by: roblimo | May 31, 2010 2:55 PM | Report abuse

You know what is disgusting.

That on all days of the year MEMORIAL DAY there are cowards sitting in front of their computer screens SPEWING HATE all because the brave men and women of this country -- GAY AND STRAIGHT have fought for years for the right for the cowards to SPEW FREELY.

What also makes me mad, is that these COWARDS have spewed that on this SPECIAL DAY, that our BRAVE MEN AND WOMEN who serve our country cannot act PROFESSIONALLY and with honor when finding out that they are serving with a gay officer.
These cowards seen to think that our BRAVE MEN AND WOMEN will fall to pieces and act UNPROFESSIOANALLY and be unable to perform their duty, solely because they find out that someone in their unit is GAY.

I don't know about you -- but these COWARDS don't seem to think to much of the military personnell who protect their right to SPEW HATE.

But then again, THIS IS THE REASON THEY ARE AT HOME SPEWING HATE FROM THEIR COMPUTERS. THEY ARE CHICKEN SHAT TO SERVE THEMSELVES.

Posted by: racerdoc | May 31, 2010 5:01 PM | Report abuse

"...Just a "rhetorical question". If I'm straight, must I let everyone know?"
Posted by: barrysal | May 31, 2010 1:53 PM

Does anyone know whether you are single or not? Do you realize that gay people have to pretend they are single in order to serve their country?

No soldier should have to lie about whether they have someone back home waiting for their safe return. Straight soldiers don't have to.

Why do gay soldiers have to?

Posted by: ricklinguist | June 1, 2010 6:01 AM | Report abuse

LET'S CALL IT SODOMY! DROP THE BIGOTRY!
Why does a homosexuality blog get so many comments? Answer: sodomites are fighting with all that they have- a willing media,Hollywood,and our educational system to force, we who oppose their destructive lifestyle, to give in! Every legislation that now includes the words,"sexual orientation" falsely proclaims that the choice of sexual practices by homosexuals is somehow a "civil right!"

Allow me to summarize the article above that is drawing such derision.
-Gays in our military will discourage our all-volunteer force!
-It will discourage recruitment!
-It will shatter unit morale!
-Chaplains will not be able to discuss basic moral issues!
-Recruits will be required to have "sensitivity" training!
-Sexual misconduct and sexually transmitted diseases will increase.
-Science has not proved a "gay gene" or that homosexuality is in-born!
-To disagree, as the 3 major religions of the world do, is not bigotry!
-We do not allow parades for adulterers, murderers, or, thieves-all sins! As is sodomy!

Posted by: lyn3 | June 1, 2010 10:40 AM | Report abuse

EARTH TO battleground51: For your information, your WONDERFUL military won't be done in by gays and lesbians, that was done by our STUPID SecDef Rumsfield and his NeoCons in the Pentagon. Over 5,000 dead and thousands more maimed for life in this GWOT & what do we have to show for it? NOTHING to write home about ! ! ! The threat is STILL there, the killing of OUR and NATO troops continues (especially)in Afganistan, we cause COLATERAL damage everywhere we go, AND THIS IS CALLED progress. Sign me out-of-here ! ! ! And to think, I SERVED IN THE U.S. AIR FORCE....

Posted by: scoobydube007 | June 1, 2010 12:01 PM | Report abuse

"I wonder how many of the posters are Veterans?
I served 25 years in the Air Force and I support the repeal of DADT."

I was 10 years in the US Navy (before DADT. It is long past time for this miserable, misbegotten piece of nonsense to go.

Posted by: jbowler | June 2, 2010 4:33 PM | Report abuse

"I wonder how many of the posters are Veterans?
I served 25 years in the Air Force and I support the repeal of DADT."

I was 10 years in the US Navy (before DADT). It is long past time for this miserable, misbegotten piece of nonsense to go.

Posted by: jbowler | June 2, 2010 4:34 PM | Report abuse

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