UPDATE: President Barack Obama’s lack of a timetable for eliminating the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy is “an omission likely to inflame critics who say he is not fighting aggressively enough for gay rights,” the New York Times reports.
In a speech at a fundraiser for the gay rights group Human Rights Campaign, Obama acknowledged the impatience among some activists at the administration’s slow movements towards reform of the federal government’s policies towards homosexuals, and said he would end the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy that forces soldiers to remain quiet about their sexual orientation, under penalty of expulsion.
“I could have watched one of his old campaign speeches and heard the same thing,” the Times quoted gay-issues blogger Bil Browning.
The president wants to “buy more time until he needs our votes again,” said Raj Malhotra, a management consultant who attended the HRC fundraiser.
As Amanda Terkel pointed out at ThinkProgress, the president also addressed the attacks from conservatives on some of his nominees and appointees from the gay and lesbian community.
Obama said that it is because of the principle that “nobody in America should be fired because they’re gay” that he will “not waver in [his] support” for nominees who “are attacked not for what they believe but for who they are.”
Original story continues below
The following video of President Barack Obama’s speech to Human Rights Campaign was broadcast live on CNN, Saturday October 10, 2009.
BREAKING: In what would be a major victory for the gay-rights movement, President Barack Obama has said he will end the military’s controversial “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy, according to breaking news reports.
The president spoke Saturday evening to a gathering of the activist group Human Rights Campaign, one day ahead of a major march on Washington by gay-rights activists.
The Huffington Post reported that the president “did not give a timetable for the repeal of the law passed by Congress in 1993 and signed by President Bill Clinton.”
Under “don’t ask, don’t tell,” military brass cannot ask about a soldier’s sexual orientation, but members of the armed forces can be ejected if they reveal their homosexuality to other soldiers.
This story will be updated as it develops…