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June 6, 2009


On May 10th I posted a blog article chastising President Obama for not taking any visible action to end the DADT policy despite overwhelming public support to repeal it and his numerous and clearly stated intentions to do just that when he was elected.

Two days later, on May 12th, I posted another story about the new study published by the Palm Center at the University of California, Santa Barbara, that said the President does, indeed, have the authority to end DADT on his own authority.

The study said that the Commander-In-Chief already has the statutory authority to halt military separations under 10 U.S.C. § 12305, a law which Congress titled, “Authority of President to suspend certain laws relating to promotion, retirement, and separation.”

More importantly, the study also said that the provisions of the "stop-loss" law, which are granted by Congress, give the President authority to "suspend laws relating to separation when a national emergency has strained personnel requirements.” This is something that can be done immediately by the President alone.

So, given the fact that it has been almost a full month since this new information was made public, why hasn't Obama issued that order?

Well, according to a video piece (see below) posted at The Daily Beast by award winning gay journalist Jason Bellini, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) and other "mainstream" gay rights organizations had reached an agreement with the White House to support delaying action on the DADT repeal until some of the other pressing GLBT rights legislation has been passed. To lend credence to this has been the HRC's somewhat milquetoast efforts to hold the administration's feet to the fire to get this repeal accomplished as promised.

Of course HRC immediately issued a statement denying that any deal was made. But despite that denial, many people in the gay community, especially the newest and youngest activists and activist organizations felt that there might be some truth to the accusation because blogs and websites burned up the internet with condemnations and accusations against HRC for not truly representing the goals of the now more fervent, in-the-street, activist movement.

In response to this growing maelstrom, HRC President Joe Solmonese finally came out and publicly called on President Obama to at least suspend DADT to stop the unwarranted and unwise discharges of sorely needed military personnel.

Gay News Net reported yesterday that when Chris Matthews on MSNBC's Hardball last night asked Solmonese whether he believes Obama has the authority to sign such an order and whether he should do so, Solmonese said, "Yes he can and yes I do." Matthews repeated the question, asking "Do you think he should?" Salmonese confirmed, "Yes I do."

Solmonese also said that Obama should sign the executive order immediately to halt further firings like that of Lt. Dan Choi, a West Point graduate who speaks Arabic. "The president has the opportunity to stop that from happening," Solmonese said. "We've asked him to do that and pressed him to do that and hope that he will."

If, in fact, the HRC did reach some kind of agreement to delay an all-out push for the repeal of DADT, I'm absolutely positive that there were no sinister, underlying motivations. I'm sure that they thought that strategy would be the most effective in securing all of the rights we're seeking. It's possible that they didn't even know about the recently revealed Presidential powers that Obama has to effect this change completely on his own authority.

Whatever reasons were behind HRC's past inaction, I'm glad to see them now using their substantial political capital to pressure Obama to suspend the firings. They're a good organization that has done a whole lot in advancing our causes in towns, cities, states and municipalities throughout the country. So let's not, as the saying goes, "throw the baby out with the bath water."

One thing for sure at this point - it is now almost impossible for the President and his administration to ignore the importance of immediate action on DADT. We're all watching Mr. President.

Below is Jason Bellini's video piece referred to above:


Rebecca said...

Hi Gandolf, I think we need to keep the pressure on the "mainstream" activist groups.
I don't think it has ever been some subversive thing on their part, like some bloggers think, they just got too "politically expedient" and part of the system for their and especially our own good.
Glad we have advocates like yourself and others to keep their feet to the fire.

Steve Krotz said...

Thanks for your kind comment. It helps to remind me that I actually do have followers who really do pay close attention to the world around them - and are trying to do something about the wrongs they see. Your encouragement helps keep me going.

HRC is a very powerful GLBT organization that tries very hard to do the right thing. But sometimes the ideologies of politically strategic maneuvering get in the way of good, old-fashioned common sense.

It IS up to us to keep our political allies on their toes, but it's also up to us to keep reminding our own civil rights and activist organizations that there are millions of us out here who are watching them just as closely.

Boy About Town LB said...

You are right...."We're all watching Mr. President." Never let them forget!