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Posted at 7:18 AM ET, 11/30/2010

The demise of don't ask don't tell

By Jonathan Capehart

After nearly a year of review, the Pentagon is set to release its report on ending the ban on gay men and lesbians serving openly in the military. It was not easy getting here. President Obama and his administration worked at its own deliberate pace to lay the groundwork that saw a Defense Department that recoiled in horror at a similar effort in 1993 openly embrace the change 17 years later.

The slow pace led many in the gay community to question Obama's commitment to ending the shameful policy. But there is no question that we wouldn't be at this historic moment without his leadership. And that leadership will continue to be needed until don't ask don't tell is repealed. That means doing everything possible to secure Republican votes to ensure passage and to steel the spine of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) so that he brings the measure to the floor for a vote as part of the defense authorization bill. Nothing is guaranteed.

In this second "Inside Voice" anthology I reprise the pieces on don't ask don't tell (and one commentary on MSNBC) that make the case for its repeal and for the president's strategy to get it done.


CHAPTER ONE: The Pentagon gets on board
In his first state of the union address, President Obama declared that he would work with the military and congress to end don't ask don't tell because "It's the right thing to do." A week later, Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, came out in favor of repeal before the Senate Armed Services Committee. Things got a little dicey with the Pentagon in May, but a compromise was reached to keep progress -- however halting -- moving.

CHAPTER TWO: The president
The gay community believes the president can and should issue an executive order to end don't ask don't tell. But at a youth town hall, Obama makes the case for why this act of Congress should be repealed by an act of Congress.

CHAPTER THREE: The American people
Poll after poll shows that the nation believes gay men and lesbians should be able to serve their nation openly.

CHAPTER FOUR: The courts
Inaction by Congress has put the spotlight on the courts. The recent ruling that don't ask don't tell is unconstitutional is right on fairness but the wrong way to address the unfairness.

We'll know for sure what the report says today, but leaks of the Pentagon Working Group's study make it clear that an overwhelming majority of the military support the policy change and that ending don't ask don't tell would not harm the armed forces.

CHAPTER SIX: The votes
Republican votes are needed to end the ban on gay men and lesbians serving openly in the military. But Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), who once said he would listen to military leaders on this issue, is threatening a filibuster. Given that the military and the American people favor repeal, I asked "What are you afraid of?" on MSNBC's "The Dylan Ratigan Show."

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What is also needed is for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to bring the repeal bill to the floor for a vote. He must not play games. He cannot let this historic moment slip by. He must lead.

Let's get this thing done!

By Jonathan Capehart  | November 30, 2010; 7:18 AM ET
Categories:  Capehart  | Tags:  Jonathan Capehart  
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Next: Rep. John Shadegg's ridiculous views on unemployment benefits


Actually, "poll after poll" shows that the American voter doesn't really care. Ergo, the Repub votes aren't likely to be there.

Posted by: illogicbuster | November 30, 2010 10:44 AM | Report abuse

I have no answer. I just wonder why any gay person would wish to serve in the military of a country, that will deny them their rights. All freedom loving young people should refuse to enlist until this law is repealed.

Posted by: fare777 | November 30, 2010 11:36 AM | Report abuse

There is no scientific evidence to prove any of the cross related bogus elements of christianity. Our early human ancestors; on this earth … go back more than 6 million years … 5,996,000 years before the Greeks, Romans and the Jews. Christianity is basically a 2010 year old fictional cult. Moses was one of history's biggest hatemongers who supposedly wrote that Leviticus filth in 1445 BC! Bibles and the torah which includes leviticus -- should be immediately banned … for promoting hatred against minorities … namely the gay community and the crosses removed from all schools and churches. If the black community or women had it written that they should be put to death; how would they think about that? Churches are committing hate crimes and more succinctly a violent criminal offence against a federally protected minority. Kids committing suicide … people being bullied into suicide …! Bring in the exterminators and get rid of this religious fictional filth.

In the year 300 AD when Emperor Constantine, who to some was the first pope; went on to fabricate & market Christianity - a fantasy - which turned out to be one of the most hateful & evil concoctions ever perpetrated on the world.

I am the son of a catholic father who never went to church and a protestant mother who took us to church and Sunday school. Onward christian soldiers; I think not. Such absolute drivel. To be manipulated by a santa claus; an easter bunny and worst of all a bogus cross! One should appreciate each day of life and not expect another and if there is it might be given by a God of Love.

The Vatican basically supported Hitler and religion is responsible for more corruption and violence in the world. Pope Ratzinger was involved in the Nazi youth. The Pope with his blatant witchcraft related to the bible and its hateful beliefs; tries to rule with extreme prejudice against a world … that may fall victim to religions' absolute evil. Many theologians state quite correctly that the birth; crucifixion; resurrection and other elements of christianity actually didn’t even happen! The pope is running a bigger fraud than Madoff’s $50 billion ripoff. Today’s evangelical extremists are like the nazis who cast others into ovens & are actually supremacists - who practice their bogus hocus pocus - and are trying to suppress and deprive others of their happiness and their legal rights in an open and proud society. Bring back the period when they threw the christians to the lions.

Einstein stated in a letter recently auctioned that the bible was a collection of primitive legends. He said believing in God was childish and he as a Jew is no different than another person and are not chosen by God. Do you want to be lambs at the slaughter or be wise and reject religious cultist manipulation? Mean & nasty; run by evil and bogus religious cults from Rome or wherever. Is this the world you want? The pope talks about ending prejudice and hate; what a hypocrite!

Posted by: MacDonald1 | November 30, 2010 12:16 PM | Report abuse

Religion is a crutch for the insecure. Appreciate every day and if there is no tomorrow; then know that you were fortunate to have lived on this earth!

This bogus religious filth should be banned. It exists as a tax exempt structure which discriminates against human rights. The pope, bishops and mormons are cult members promoting discrimination against minorities. That bogus black book called the bible should be banned. Religion and the churches should now be exposed as a bigoted structure that gets away with hate mongering. Love between two guys or girls existed long before these cults existed. By enjoying their tax exempt status and benefits from the state it also puts churches at the mercy of the state; to be forced to adhere to the human rights laws. Religion is thriving like a cancerous growth on society that should be stopped in its tracks; outlawed & banned.

The Right Honourable Prime Minister of Canada Jean Chretien told the Vatican that there was to be no cross erected over the Canadian Parliament buildings figuratively speaking; when the Pope demanded the Prime Minister go against gay rights. An Alberta bishop had the audacity to say that The Canadian Prime Minister would go to hell for going against the church. Such outrageous evil threats. The Right Honourable Prime Minister in return; basically told the Pope to go to Hell! The Honourable Irwin Cotler, Canadian Minister of Justice, stood for equal rights for the gay community. With reference to protecting the children: The Honourable Hedy Fry, member of the Canadian Liberal Parliament, who happens to be a doctor who delivered many babies; spoke eloquently to defend the rights of babies being born and stated that she was in fact defending their rights by speaking on behalf of equal rights for the children and youth of the future -- defending their integrity and dignity. Minority rights must be decided by a dignified judicial system and/or a compassionate government.

United States is supposedly fighting for democracy but within the U.S. they treat gays like secondary citizens. Being left-handed, black or being gay is just as natural. If blacks’ or women’s rights were cast to the masses to decide … then the majority or lunatic religious fringe in this case -- has the advantage to decide minority rights.

Posted by: MacDonald1 | November 30, 2010 12:19 PM | Report abuse

Tell them to take that cross and shove it where the sun don't shine and pay their taxes along the way before they take that cross down forever with its final station; extinction. It is written; so therefore it shall be? We are the chosen people? Such a wicked fantasy. To see the religious lunatics manipulate government and our lives is shameful.

To think of Matthew Shepard choking on his own blood after being savagely beaten; virtually sanctioned by the church is evil beyond comprehension; yet is the same as boys being bullied into suicide; most likely being supported by the bullies parents’ religious cults. Bigotry and hatemongering against gays should be banned. It is a sometimes rare occurrence to fall in Love and to hold that person in your heart and be loved in return ... it is something that should be celebrated! If it is between two guys or girls all the better. It takes even more courage to defend that LOVE!

My father fought at the front on D-Day in Normandy … through the Battle of the Scheldt to Germany and grandfather was a Sgt. Major at Vimy. My Dad who was a catholic -- is alive today at 87 and doesn’t believe in santa claus -- an easter bunny or any of that bogus cross related filth.

A gay pilot may have saved the lives of nine US soldiers who just got killed.

A special compliment to the discharged soldiers ... you are the finest soldiers indeed ... in a battle and a war much greater than you will ever know!

Abused gay people should definitely talk to or write to their parents; friends; teachers & school principal ... about the issue. Your story may save another person! You should strive to be great and one day you may have a respected platform to help others ... like Elton John, Elizabeth Taylor, Ellen Degeneres & David Geffen.

It’s not the President, Generals or government behind disallowing gay rights – it’s the religious lunatics! Voodoooooooooooooooooooooo politics!

Posted by: MacDonald1 | November 30, 2010 12:21 PM | Report abuse

A majority in Georgia favor prayer in public schools.

A majority in Texas oppose abortion.

A majority in Boston opposed desegregation.

Majority rule doesn't count in many, many instances.

We can't take away the right to privacy for one soldier so that another soldier can enjoy a right to identity.

Posted by: blasmaic | November 30, 2010 12:32 PM | Report abuse

"blasmaic: We can't take away the right to privacy for one soldier so that another soldier can enjoy a right to identity. "

There is no loss of privacy, so as usual, your point is mute.

Capeheart: your shilling for Obama and his vaunted work is enough already. Way to put all the onus on Harry Reid.

If the vote doesn't get done... what will your messiah do then? My money is on nothing. But he'll be sure to say he tried, and blame congress and the republicans.

Posted by: Greent | November 30, 2010 1:18 PM | Report abuse

There are already gays in the military. That's why 80,000 have been separated by DADT, many of them with more important skills and medals for bravery being badmouthed by some drunken redneck lowbrow privates who never distinguished themselves in combat at all.

It is clear that many officers in the military VIOLATED THIS LAW, they did ASK, they witchhunted private emails from people who never TOLD. If you are kicking out somebody, let's kick out every officer who violated the law and revoke their pension! Gay taxpayers should not be supporting homophobe haters who break the law!

I'll trade you, one hatefilled homophobe kicked to the curb for ever gay you bully. This policy ends fast when the ASKERS get their ASK kicked!

Posted by: Liann | November 30, 2010 3:04 PM | Report abuse

Liann; all,

FIRST, "homophobia" doesn't exist except in the minds of LEFTISTS, homosexuals & IDIOTS. = it's a "non phobia" & frankly a LIE.
instead, "homo-phobia" is OPPOSITION to the BEHAVIOR of homosexuals, which essentially every major religion opposes as IMMORAL & PERVERSE BEHAVIOR.

the TRUTH is that 95+% of armed service members OPPOSE open homosexual BEHAVIOR in the US military services. ONLY the "homosexual minority" actually approves.

"OPEN SERVICE" (with open homosexual BEHAVIOR) will, if ever actually required,cause a MASS EXODUS of service-members from the armed forces.

fwiw, "open service" by homosexuals is NO different that requiring young women, in open bay barracks, to share living/bathing/dressing/toilet facilities with hetrosexual men.

TO ALL: IF you had an 17-20YO daughter in the armed forces, would you want her to be required to live in an open bay barracks with 17-20yo men? ====> it is the SAME situation with hetrosexuals & homosexuals.

to the "gay people", who may be reading these lines: BHO is NOT stupid. he will NOT issue an executive order to require/allow "open service", as he KNOWS that (at best) he faces an uphill battle for re-election in 2012 & he KNOWS that this stupid idea will SINK any chance he has to win.
"gays & lesbians" are being "played" by the DIMocRATS - they care NOTHING about anybody/anything but WINNING.

yours, TN46
USA, Retired

Posted by: texasnative46 | December 1, 2010 11:16 AM | Report abuse

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