It's time for Obama to come out of the closet for gays in the military

Posted on 06. Sep, 2009 by in Uncategorized

Politicians make big promises when they run for office, and then they break them. Barack Obama is proving he’s no different. The president promised during his campaign he would aggressively seek to overturn the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy.

Here is Obama during his campaign: “We’re spending large sums of money to kick highly qualified gays or lesbians out of our military some of whom possess specialties like Arab-language capabilities that we desperately need.”

Eight months later, we’re still waiting.

Obama has said he’s too busy with the economic crisis to worry about the discrimination of thousands of Americans who want to fight and possibly die for their country.

Clearly he’s not that busy: the administration asked the Supreme Court in June to not look at any cases involving the policy. James Pietrangelo II was discharged from the army after he came out in 2004, and he attempted to take his case to the Supreme Court. His case was rejected at the behest of the Obama Administration.

“He’s a coward, a bigot and a pathological liar,” Pietrangelo told TIME magazine.

Strong words, but they may not be entirely wrong. Obama has gone on record, pledging and promising to change a very specific policy, and then he hasn’t.  People don’t like feeling lied to, especially when the answer seems so easy and the president’s inaction seem to actually be making things worse.

What is Obama afraid of? Making Republicans angry? He’s going to do that no matter what happens. The difference with DADT, unlike weightier issues like gay marriage, is that the majority of Americans would actually support a repeal of the policy.

Some former military officials like Colin Powell who used to support the policy, like Colin Powell, now believe it is outdated.

“The policy was correct for the time,” Powell said on CNN’s State of the Union in July. “Sixteen years have now gone by, and I think a lot has changed with respect to attitudes within our country, and therefore I think this is a policy and a law that should be reviewed.”

And yet, Obama has done nothing (other than prevent DADT cases from being reviewed in the Supreme Court), and remained very quiet about it. That’s almost worse than him coming out and saying, “I don’t like gay people.” His silence is deafening.

There will never be a great time to repeal DADT, but Obama needs to fulfill this campaign promise.  It’s the least he can do.

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