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[edit: I left out another big player here.  Servicemembers United is also happy with this compromise.]

This diary is no way an attempt to disparage, directly or indirectly, all the work that Clarknt67 has been putting into this issue.  But I disagree with the assessment that he and others are making of the policy compromise, and I wanted to offer some history - both of the policy and of the strategies involved - to explain why we shouldn't treat this as a negative development or a dead end.  Some of the groups that have been fighting hardest for this repeal, and that are most knowledgable about the legal and policy implications of various versions, have come out in support of the compromise, and I wanted to make sure their version gets heard.

I am optimistic about this compromise, and I want to outline why we should be, too (or at least why we should temper our skepticism).  In support of that, I want to outline everything that's on the table, why it's important, and how you can get involved:

First, most of you who follow this topic know the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network by now.  Since 1993 the SLDN has been the main source of information about DADT policy, because they represent the legal support system for troops who are most directly affected by it.

Likewise, most of you know the Palm Center at the University of California, Santa Barbara.  The Palm Center is a think-tank with a broader public policy mandate, but they have spent most of the last ten years producing analyses and recommendations related to Don't Ask, Don't Tell.

Most famously, they produced this set of recommendations (pdf) in May of last year, after Obama was elected, which they felt represented the clearest and most viable path to DADT repeal.  That study was much-discussed at this site, with special emphasis on the first recommendation:

  1. The executive branch has the authority to suspend homosexual conduct discharges without legislative action.
  1. Legislative action is still required to permanently remove "don't ask, don't tell."
  1. The President should not ask military leaders if they support lifting the ban.
  1. [additional analysis supporting point 3]
  1. Studying the issue further would cause waste, delay, and a possible backlash.
  1. Equal standards and leadership are critical to a successful policy change.

What caused no end of grief between activists last year was the stop-loss question, and whether the President did indeed have that authority.  That disagreement wasn't just a matter of supporters versus detractors, or of optimists versus cynics: the SLDN advised the president against this path, citing both its legal ambiguities and likely troop backlash against an unpopular order (that is, stop-loss itself.)

If an executive order were issued, not only would there be an unnecessary and distracting showdown with the legislative branch, the next president could come along and wipe it away. Moreover, repeal by an act of Congress, coupled with a non-discrimination policy for the military, is the only sure-fire way to protect against future employment discrimination in the ranks based on sexual orientation.

So our two most best and most knowledgeable centers on this policy did not agree on the correct path for repeal, which isn't uncommon once discussions turn to strategy.  Agreeing on the proper outcome is easy, but agreeing on the best path for getting there never is.  

Meanwhile Obama and Congress seemed set on two possible paths for repeal: Obama's route a consensus-building exercise in explicit opposition to the Palm Center's recommendations 3-5, and Congress more in line with the SLDN recommendations.  

Neither has proven successful: fearing losses in November, neither Congress nor most of the LGBT activist base are willing to wait until December to go ahead with legislative repeal, but Congress has not succeeded in getting the necessary votes for repeal as planned.  Whatever the reasons for this, whether we could have had a better outcome through more forceful advocacy, whether certain Senators are stonewalling just because they can, whether LGBT lobbyists have been inefficient - all of these are subject for a later post-mortem, but this diary is about where we go from here.

And where do we go?  With a compromise that wins us the necessary margins of votes in the Senate to repeal the Congressional side of the military ban, and that means courting people like Ben Nelson and Jim Webb.  Both of these Senators have proven wishy-washy on the repeal, citing the need for patience, for further analysis, and especially for the thumbs-up from the Pentagon and Joints Chiefs of Staff.  Nelson has explicitly tied his vote to Gates' and Mullen's green light.  Webb is still unsure.  But let's be clear: the issue is not delayed implementation: the issue is that Nelson (etc.) does not want to see the policy repealed without Gates' and Mullen's support, and this compromise grants them the eventual say.

That gives us two options here, from a legislative point of view: gamble on the original repeal+protections despite promises of opposition from key Democrats, or gamble on a later executive order that gets us, in the meantime, a Congressional repeal.

Look: neither version is ideal, so we're gambling either way.  In writing this diary, I'm not trying to suggest that there's a single correct and clear path that we should be taking.  Politics and strategy are messy businesses, and all of us are banking on the future.

What we know is that this compromise, should it be accepted, gains us certain things:

  1. There will be no law against open service by gay, lesbian, and bisexual servicemembers;
  1. There will be no legal hurdle against an executive order abolishing the ban;
  1. At best, the compromise shows support of repeal from each of the major players: Congress, the President, and most importantly the military.

We also risk certain things:

  1. There will be no law preventing discrimination against gay, lesbian, and bisexual servicemembers;
  1. There will be a risk that certain members of the Pentagon and/or Joint Chiefs (ahem, Gates) will oppose the repeal and jeopardize the executive order;
  1. The order could be reversed by a future president.

With that in mind, I wanted to close by returning to the beginning, and looking at how the SLDN and Palm Center are reacting to the proposal.  As it turns out, they are showing none of our skepticism.  Here's the SLDN:

If enacted this welcomed compromise will create a process for the President and the Pentagon to implement a new policy for lesbian and gay service members to serve our country openly, hopefully within a matter of a few months. This builds upon the support Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Admiral Michael Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, expressed for open service during the February hearing in the Senate, and further underscores that this Administration is committed to open service.

Nor do they expect us to declare victory and go home: the announcement ends with a plea to activists to focus their attention on getting this compromise passed.  Immediately on the heels of that press release they issued another, specifying where we can best focus our energies: CALL THE HILL NOW.

But the fight is not won yet. With critical votes in the Senate Armed Services Committee and the House floor in the next 24-72 hours, we need your help to reach a winning vote.

Call your representative today and say that the time to vote for repeal is now.

(202) 225-3121

Back to the Palm Center, whose recommendations from last year have remained the centerpiece of our strategy debates.  Yesterday they released a brief but overwhelmingly positive statement in favor of the compromise:

"The President’s actions today keeps his promise to lift the ban by establishing the terms on which ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ will be dismantled," stated Aaron Belkin, Palm Center Director. "For the past seventeen years, every expert who has studied this policy has emphasized that dismantling it would require leadership. Leadership is what the President showed today."

Today, Aaron Belkin has come out asking us not to be overly skeptical about this compromise.

I'm sure that future Republican administrations will try to force gay troops back into the closet. And it would be much better to have a legal promise of nondiscrimination than an executive order or Pentagon regulation. That said, the regulatory path will be durable. Ex-president George Bush tried to undo a Clinton-era executive order mandating non-discrimination among non-military federal employees, and he couldn't get away with it. As Ana Marie Cox has pointed out, racial integration was wildly unpopular when President Truman implemented it via executive order, and that policy has persisted for more than six decades.

The bottom line is this. The main obstacle to equality is the "don't ask, don't tell" law.

Both centers could be wrong, and for the first time they're both on the opposite side of people like Lt. Dan Choi, who is "pissed" about this compromise.  Not to mention a lot of the more vocal advocates here.  But for as long as I've been blogging on this site, I've thrown my lot in with the SLDN - and to see them in full agreement with the Palm Center makes it much harder for me to be as skeptical about this process.  

I appreciate and respect the passion that people like Lt. Dan Choi have put into this issue.  I read and rec all of Clarknt7's diaries because, even when I disagree with them, action is far better than words.  But I'm allowing myself to be cautiously optimistic on this issue, because even in the worst-case scenario we will be making one undeniable gain: eliminating the Congressional ban on openly gay service.  And that's the worst-case scenario.

That's only going to happen if make it happen.  

With that in mind, you know what to do.

Originally posted to De hominis dignitate on Tue May 25, 2010 at 02:34 PM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  the compromise seems OK - but compromise is what (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    pico, Clarknt67, DCJackass

    this administration does the best ... we should know this by now.

    There is a harder, more direct path to take on the issue - but that is just not how the folks in charge roll.  

    •  Sometimes for the best, (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      soms, We Won

      sometimes not.  After all, the essence of compromise is that you have to give something up, right?

      The SLDN's original plan was my plan A, and we just haven't managed to win the votes for that.  It looks like this play - we'll call it B - was cobbled together after meetings between a few Congressional point-men, the White House, and advocacy groups (I think HRC was involved?)   If this fails, Plan C is to wait until December, which won't make anyone but the SecDefense happy.

      Saint, n. A dead sinner revised and edited. - Ambrose Bierce

      by pico on Tue May 25, 2010 at 02:46:13 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  that said - got to keep fighting ... the cause (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    pico, soms, DCJackass, We Won

    surely does not have an enemy in the WH.  But ultimately political capital won't be expended until is has to ... so we know what the fight is

  •  Well stated counter-point. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    pico, We Won, FiredUpInCA

    I feared we would ultimately fail in any vote taken this week by the Senate, so anything that can get passed that hurdle is a step in the right direction.

    Maybe it is naivete, but I don't see a GOP president issuing an executive order banning gays from the military after DADT is finally ended.  I just don't see them deciding to fire a bunch of service men and women, and I should think there would be an uproar in the military if that happened.

    One should no more deplore homosexuality than left-handedness. ~Towards a Quaker View of Sex, 1964 (Proud left-handed queer here!)

    by AUBoy2007 on Tue May 25, 2010 at 02:47:20 PM PDT

  •  I could not agree with you more, Pico ... (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    pico, jpmassar, DCJackass, We Won

    ... and also wish to give a kudo to Clarknt67 for his incredible work on this issue. Although we've had our differences of opinion on this (and other subjects), our goals are the same. And I especially like it that both you and Clarknt67 are calling for action from Kossacks on this issue.

    For instance, it's tremendously helpful to have the contact information readily available to call and e-mail our elected representatives, so that we can urge them to respect the will of the people and repeal DADT.

    FWIW, since reading DKos diaries on this matter, I have written my own Senator, Jim Webb, to tell him that I expect his support for ending this discriminatory policy as soon as possible. And while I realize that the LGBT community has good reason to be skeptical about the compromise, it does seem to me that we are closer than ever before to overturning this terribly unjust law of the past 17 years.

    May your optimism be richly rewarded before the year is out.

    •  Thank you for the advocacy. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      We Won

      Since Webb is one of yours you're an extremely valuable advocate for us: he's still saying he may not support this compromise, which could scuttle us until December.  Keep pushing, and thank you!

      Saint, n. A dead sinner revised and edited. - Ambrose Bierce

      by pico on Tue May 25, 2010 at 02:55:09 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Well, I'm actually not too crazy about Webb ... (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        pico, DCJackass, We Won

        ... other than the fact that, back in 2006, he was the best hope we had in Virginia to get rid of George "Macaca" Allen. I'd love to have a more progressive senator, but sometimes even an incremental improvement is worthwhile until the opportunity comes along to support a better candidate.

        I know change may come just one step at a time, and at my age I don't understand why it always seems so hard to get one foot forward and so easy to fall two feet backward.

  •  I still think that, (6+ / 0-)

    given the blatant attempt to turn the military into a religious organization, documented by bloggers like Troutfishing here, and others, we can't take the new, as-yet-unwritten regulations for granted. Bush made a concerted effort to fill military ranks with extremely religious people.

    That, coupled with a President Bob McDonnell or President Rand Paul would be disastrous - and with this compromise bill there is literally NO WAY to stop it beyond "hoping" or "having a good feeling about it." We literally just get to wait and see if someone attempts to screw us. I don't think it was too much to ask for the legislation to say that wouldn't be allowed.

    This is basically repeal contingent upon the moral and religious views of future presidents and military leaders.

    And at that point, our outcries will not be able to stop those types of regulations.

    Help me, Professor Guyfucker! - dkos hatemail

    by indiemcemopants on Tue May 25, 2010 at 03:04:26 PM PDT

    •  In That Case... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      musing85, nokkonwud

      Let's face it.

      We're hosed.

      Once again, our Fierce Advocate punts the decision to people who absolutely should NOT make it.

      Things will get worse. I guarantee it.

      Face it, right-wingers, you screwed it up. And we have to fix it despite your whining. So SHUT UP. REPUDIATE GAY APARTHEID. NOTHING LESS THAN FULL EQUALITY.

      by CajunBoyLgb on Tue May 25, 2010 at 03:08:45 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Well I think they (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        musing85, pico, nokkonwud

        should add nondiscrimination. It'd be a very easy fix and then we wouldn't have to worry over this for years to come. I always thought that when DADT was repealed we gays could stop worrying, take a breath and relax. But no, now we have to keep at it. Again and again and again.

        Help me, Professor Guyfucker! - dkos hatemail

        by indiemcemopants on Tue May 25, 2010 at 03:12:04 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  The catch-22 here (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          indiemcemopants, We Won

          is that the Senate won't add that until the military lifts the ban, but the military won't lift the ban until Congress lifts the ban.  This is why some advocates have been calling the whole process a series of punts.

          Insofar as there can be a blueprint to dismantling this, this looks to me like our current best-case scenario.  It's neither the only case nor the last one, but I can see why all our big guns are lining up behind it.

          Saint, n. A dead sinner revised and edited. - Ambrose Bierce

          by pico on Tue May 25, 2010 at 03:15:35 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Me too. (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            musing85, pico, We Won

            It's neither the only case nor the last one, but I can see why all our big guns are lining up behind it.

            I get the feeling of "this is what we're getting" now and to me it feels like a bad idea to try to start over. This is probably it. I'm very surprised that anything at all will be going into the defense authorization bill to be perfectly honest. I thought we were screwed both on this and ENDA for this session of Congress.

            I'm tentatively behind this bill simply because this is freaking it. There's not another bill with the votes. But I'm just conflicted because I feel terrible fighting for a bill that I'm scared of. If it passes and later on when the new regs are written they contain some offensive things, I'll feel like shit for supporting this and putting more gay troops through pain.

            But if I don't get behind this right now I feel like shit because this is what's happening and we get this or nothing, and I don't want to continue saying no and being a purist.

            So it's a really conflicting feeling. (Also by the way I tipped and recommended your diary. It's a great counter-view on this.)

            Help me, Professor Guyfucker! - dkos hatemail

            by indiemcemopants on Tue May 25, 2010 at 03:25:31 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  i agree (0+ / 0-)

        if we have an R in the whitehouse in 2013, none of this will matter. everything will be so fucked up it'll be a freakin catastrophe.

        I hear gardening is a nice hobby.

        by SeanF on Tue May 25, 2010 at 03:12:18 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  I'll give them credit when gay soldiers can serve (7+ / 0-)

    openly.  Until then, the GAYtm at my house will stay closed.  

  •  My disappointment expresses my ideals (10+ / 0-)

    And by that I mean, there was an opportunity, Patrick Murphy's original bill, that would have been a real progressive victory and a step toward affirming the equality of not only our men and women in uniform, but every American.

    And I believe with all my heart, Patrick Murphy's good, progressive bill could have passed, if it had had the support of the White House behind it and really, the ground troops of the larger progressive community, who were largely unengaged and apathetic.

    But, this is what we got, what we had to settle for: A watered down bill that promises to maybe deliver equality someday, when three straight men agree everything is going to be ok. It's is an expression of the times we live in, I suppose. An attempt to please everyone, Solomon didn't split the baby, but Obama and the Democrats know better I guess.

    I believe I, and every LGBT American, deserves full equality today. I am a radical.

    And I hope your optimism is warranted. Tipped & Recced.

    We will remember in November.

    by Scott Wooledge on Tue May 25, 2010 at 03:19:33 PM PDT

    •  I certainly respect that. (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      AUBoy2007, fou, Clarknt67, We Won

      I think a more aggressive Obama might have won over someone like Webb, but not Ben Nelson.  Actually, I don't know what the most recent numbers look like, but it's going to be a squeaker either way.  Collins is on board with this version, too.  There's still a chance we could fail on the compromise, and that leaves us with nothing but the December plan, following a likely loss in the Senate.  

      As I said, what's giving me a straw here is the way that all our advocacy groups are aligning behind it, and - though there's something naive about leaning too heavily on that - when SLDN, the Palm Center, and Servicemembers United are all telling me to push for this, I'm going to push for it.  Like I said above, I wish the original SLDN plan had gotten the support - or that we'd pushed harder for it, or that Congressional Democrats weren't as weak as it is.

      Saint, n. A dead sinner revised and edited. - Ambrose Bierce

      by pico on Tue May 25, 2010 at 03:24:56 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  We differ in perspective more than facts (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        musing85, pico, fou

        and that likely come from our sources from which we draw from. Your diary relies on views from top down leaders and organizations. Their history has mixed at best in deliverying victories.

        And I have a very hard time entertaining Belkin seriously as he described Obama's leadership on this issue as "historic." It made be noted in the books eventually, but it's been no picture of fierce advocacy or a profile in courage. The LGBT community seems to have "made him" do it, to add another presidential allusion.

        I have been greatly influenced by leaders like Harvey Milk, Robin McGehee and Lt. Dan Choi and endeavor to be uncompromising in my pursuit of LGBT American's claim to equality.

        As such, my heart is very heavy on the current bill.

        If we gratefully accept a half-measure that denies our equality for even on more day, what have lost? We've reached a historic moment of forcing the US Senate to vote, but the prize has been taken from the table, and replaced with something else.

        I understand I may sound like I am making the perfect the enemy of the good, I don't believe I am. I have not condemned or disowned this bill.

        But, in the big picture, 50-100 years out, is good enough, good enough? Will our fight be passed to the next generation by incremental half-measures.

        Or do you and I hold in our hands today to settle things questions once and for all?

        I don't pretend to know. They are questions worth asking. It seems we rarely choose to roll the dice on the long shot big prize gambles. We didn't here.  

        We will remember in November.

        by Scott Wooledge on Tue May 25, 2010 at 03:54:54 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  If I can put that in a slightly (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          more neutral way...  :)

          There are different kinds of advocacy, and the reason I lean toward groups like SLDN, the Palm Center, and Servicemembers United is that they're very good with parsing the legal and policy issues, and with building the voting coalitions we need to succeed.  It's not sexy work by any means, and they have trouble whipping up public interest in what they do.  

          People like Choi and McGehee are much better at that part, because they electrify their audience and draw media attention to otherwise low-burn issues.  They're passionate and they transfer that passion to other people.  Conversely, they're not as good at getting policy through Congress.  

          It's only when these two prongs are aimed in the same direction that we get anything done: Congress needs both vote-dealing and public outrage to move on controversial issues.

          As you know I focus more of my attention on ENDA rather that DADT, and it's a constant source of frustration that the public policy groups are finding themselves without an electrified activist base on that issue.  But in that vacuum of activism, they come back year after year with more signatories and a better shot at passage.  It's slow and sometimes disheartening work.  

          That's what it took to get the Matthew Shepard act through: another piece of legislation that inspired (comparatively) little vocal activism on our part.  

          Incidentally, I have a series of charts I made on bill sponsorship - I was planning to do a big diary on ENDA before the DADT news dropped - so I can elaborate on this later.  

          But, suffice to say: we just represent different prongs in this fight, and there's nothing wrong with that.  So long as we're aiming at the same target.


          Saint, n. A dead sinner revised and edited. - Ambrose Bierce

          by pico on Tue May 25, 2010 at 06:17:28 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  thanks for your optimism, I have none. (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    musing85, kerplunk, Predictor, nokkonwud

    What do we want??? Equal rights! When do we want them??? Now!

    by tnichlsn on Tue May 25, 2010 at 03:27:41 PM PDT

  •  On the one hand I'm wary (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    musing85, tnichlsn, AUBoy2007, pico, We Won

    On the other hand, it's important to keep in mind that not everyone who disagrees with you is "the enemy." There can be more than one point of view on the current compromise (well, there can be more than one point of view on any number of things, whether or not related to DADT, LGBT rights, or what have you) and I appreciate your having laid it out.

  •  When Gates Ultimately Says No To The Repeal (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    wayoutinthestix, Alec82

    everyone will be saying "Who could have known"? "We are shocked", etc, etc.

    •  He will resign before he says no. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      AUBoy2007, We Won
      •  He won't need to (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        musing85, pico

        His opposition to the bill will kill it before it even gets to the president's desk:

        Levin said he wasn't sure he had enough votes to pass the measure, as speculation surfaced that supporters were still at least one vote short.

        While Webb said he would oppose the measure, Sen. Susan Collins, a Republican, announced on Tuesday that she would support it. Sen. Ben Nelson, a conservative Nebraska Democrat who also sits on the panel, declined to say how he would vote.

        DADT "Repeal" Vote Dying

        Where's the fierce advocate pulling for votes? Nowhere to be seen.  

        Policy, Peace and Progress Before Party

        by Alec82 on Tue May 25, 2010 at 03:53:40 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  there is a report the agreement is unraveling (3+ / 0-)

    even before it hits the evening news....


    What do we want??? Equal rights! When do we want them??? Now!

    by tnichlsn on Tue May 25, 2010 at 03:51:33 PM PDT

  •  Obama thinks Congress answers to DoD (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    musing85, HeyMikey

    "The White House and Secretary Gates both said today that, ideally, the Defense Department should complete this review before legislative action is taken."--Webb

    It would be nice if our DEMOCRATIC Congress would show the self-declared "fierce advocate for equality for gay and lesbian Americans" that the American people do not defer questions of civil rights to the Secretary of Defense anymore than JFK did to the manager of Walgreens.

    "I reject the claim that the President has plenary authority to detain U.S. citizens without charges"--Barack Obama, missing since 2008

    by just some lurker guy on Tue May 25, 2010 at 04:08:56 PM PDT

    Recommended by:
    pico, We Won

    "The true strength of our nation comes not from the might of our arms or the scale of our wealth, but from the enduring power of our ideals." - Barack Obama

    by HeyMikey on Tue May 25, 2010 at 04:22:51 PM PDT

    •  It's looking tight, and (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      in the Senate it's more a matter of getting it out of committee at this point.  If the House attaches it to the military appropriations bill the Senate will have to deal with it one way or another.  Right now is a really difficult couple of days (hours?) because these things are being patched together at the last possible moment.

      Saint, n. A dead sinner revised and edited. - Ambrose Bierce

      by pico on Tue May 25, 2010 at 05:04:02 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  The only way discrimination will fully end is (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    by full repeal with an open serving military. You either believe in discrimination or you don't. There is no middle ground on this.

    •  Well, not really. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      There are two issues here:

      1. The ban on open service
      1. Discrimination against open servicmembers

      The ideal plan included both but has been scrapped.  The compromise guarantees the first but leaves the second questionable, depending on how it's approached.  That's why not everyone is enthusiastic about lifting the ban.  

      Saint, n. A dead sinner revised and edited. - Ambrose Bierce

      by pico on Tue May 25, 2010 at 05:10:36 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Hang on. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        The ideal plan included both but has been scrapped.  The compromise guarantees the first but leaves the second questionable, depending on how it's approached.  That's why not everyone is enthusiastic about lifting the ban.  

        Sorry, but could you clarify?  Who are you referring to?

        Oba-MA bumaye! Oba-MA bumaye!

        by fou on Tue May 25, 2010 at 05:12:48 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Meh. We are mincing words here because (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        ultimately the DoD would still be able to discriminate depending upon the administration. And frankly, given the lies about 3rd party outings & talks about changing/making DADT more 'humane' it makes things clear. This is not full repeal.

        The Democratic party is not the party of civil rights and neither is the Republican party. I will be voting 3rd party from now on as neither Democrats or Republicans truly see my people as human beings worthy of EQUAL TREATMENT under the law. Actions speak louder then words, and Democrats have proven to be mostly talk on major civil rights legislation. They have themselves to blame for the LGBT people as well as our friends and family who will no longer vote for them if DADT is not fully repealed or ENDA enacted before midterms.

        •  It is a repeal. (0+ / 0-)

          Laws can be offensive or defensive: they can enact or protect.  Right now there is a ban on open service, and that will be lifted.  But depending on implementation, it may require a second bill to protect servicemembers serving openly.

          If you look at other NATO countries, for example: some ban open service, most do not.  Of the latter, some have militaries where informal discrimination still takes place, and others had codified legal protections for openly-serving LGBs.  

          Now, you can decide never to support Democrats again, but when you're looking at the vote totals here - nearly every Republican opposed, nearly every Democrat supporting - you're really casting your lots in a particular way that I can't support.  

          Saint, n. A dead sinner revised and edited. - Ambrose Bierce

          by pico on Tue May 25, 2010 at 06:21:41 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  Discrimination will never end. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      pico, QES, IndieGuy

      The only thing that discourages it is a legal remedy for it.

      Oba-MA bumaye! Oba-MA bumaye!

      by fou on Tue May 25, 2010 at 05:10:39 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I can't tip this diary (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I have a great deal of respect for you pico, but unlike you I don't see any reason for optimism. Not with the track record of the Democratic Party over my lifetime, nor with the track record of this president thus far into his term. They're Lucy, DADT is the football, and we're Charlie Brown--flat on our asses again.

    The one point I can and do agree with, however, is that we can't let up. It took months of pissing and moaning and whining, making phone calls, writing e-mails and, yes, heckling at fund-raisers and sit-ins at legislators' offices, to get us this far. I say we don't let up on the pressure one bit. Show them in Congress, the Pentagon, and the White House, that their pressure-valve compromise didn't work. The one thing that will take the pressure off is to get rid of the damn compromise and repeal DADT, no strings attached, right now. Before one more soldier, sailor, airman, or Marine gets kicked out for no good reason.

    •  Nah, no hard feelings. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      As I said above, the reason I'm finding it too hard to be pessimistic on this (provided it passes, heh) is because I think the Congressional ban really is the biggest hurdle we face.  I'd have preferred the original SLDN plan, but Nelson isn't buying it, and Webb isn't buying it, etc.  It doesn't say much for Democratic leadership - then again, we knew what we were getting when we supported Webb (i.e. 'not Allen', who'd be a No vote no matter what), and this has all been a pretty tricky game of negotiation.

      Whatever the case, you're right, we can't stop now.  And Choi is absolutely right when he warns activists like me from declaring 'Mission Accomplished', which would be disastrous.  

      Saint, n. A dead sinner revised and edited. - Ambrose Bierce

      by pico on Tue May 25, 2010 at 07:34:06 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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