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Midterms will determine the fate of 'don't ask, don't tell'

The repeal of "don't ask, don't tell," policy that mandates the discharge of openly gay, lesbian, or bisexual members of the armed services is not on the ballot in any of the fifty states or the District of Columbia Tuesday. But the legislative fate of don't ask, don't tell will probably be determined by the outcome of this year's voting.

If, as expected, the House swings Republican and the GOP gains strength in the Senate, the chances of don't ask, don't tell being repealed in the next Congress are slim to none. Republican opposition to this year's House-passed amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act that could have lead to the repeal of DADT early next year is proof that a GOP-enhanced Congress spell's death to repeal.

Unless Senate Democrats make a last-ditch effort to push through repeal during the lame duck session, before the new Congress is seated in January, the legislative route appears doomed. Given the short time frame before adjournment and the heat such a tactic would generate, don't ask, don't tell is likely to remain the law of the land, at least for the next few years.

And that is why it is wrong to turn to Congress and the world of partisan politics to uphold the principle that the current policy against gays is unconstitutional.

Don't ask, don't tell is indefensible. As a former U.S. Army officer who served with members that I and other service members believed to be gay, I can say that our standards of military readiness, military effectiveness, unit cohesion and national security were not affected one bit by the presence of gay service members. As was my time served as an international banker, congressional staffer, federal civil servant, and journalist. What the hell does sexual orientation have to do with work?

The rights of lesbian and gay service members should not be determined by what happens at the polls today. If, as an African American, my rights had been left to past Congresses to determine, I might still be behind a plow.

Sadly, that's where gays may find themselves after Tuesday.

By Colbert King  | November 2, 2010; 11:12 AM ET
Categories:  King  | Tags:  Colbert King  
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Next: After 2010 elections, Obama will look abroad

Comments

Excuse me, did I not hear that this had been addressed yesterday?

A three-judge panel of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals decided yesterday to allow the military to continue its "don't ask, don't tell" policy indefinitely ...

So you'll have to excuse me but why is there even a discussion about this at this point, and don't try to compare this to emancipation, that is absurd!

Posted by: OregonStorm | November 2, 2010 12:05 PM | Report abuse

Mr. King-Why is DADT linked to your political views? I am asking as I am a retired City of Detroit employee and have worked with Black people my entire life and I doubt very much that the Black community as a whole agrees with you. The reason is a simple one and just to show you how it conflicts with both you and President Obama's agenda, I will tell you why it seems conflicted tome. One of the first things that President Obama did was to give 60 million to the Aids Awareness campaign due to the above 3 percent infection rate in Washington D.C. Who are the one that are getting AIDS? The Black and Hispanic Communities and I include Black women as well. You can check my figures out if you desire but to me being Pro-Gay means being Pro-Aids and while I know this comment will be deleted. I am hopeful that you will read it first!

Posted by: dave6729 | November 2, 2010 1:26 PM | Report abuse

Yo OregonStorm, since it is obviously impossible for you to actually read the articles you refer to, I assume you have read none of the court opinions and there I am wasting my time even responding to you.

Posted by: tianyisun | November 2, 2010 9:25 PM | Report abuse

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