Monday, July 6, 2009

Obama isn't leading on gay rights.

So says this editorial in The New Republic.

It's easy to excuse Obama by saying he's had more urgent priorities; he just needs a little more time to get around to gay rights. But that doesn't seem to explain his inaction on "Don't Ask, Don't Tell":

Obama may need Congress's approval to officially repeal Don't Ask, Don't Tell, but he has the legal authority to tell the Pentagon to stop enforcing the policy via executive order. He could do it tomorrow. As for the political risks: Obama should look at some polls. Unlike same-sex marriage, the question of whether gays should serve openly in the military is no longer a particularly controversial issue. According to Gallup, 69 percent of Americans believe gays should be able to serve openly. To put that number in perspective, it is 25 points higher than the percentage of Americans who endorse Obama's handling of health care, 19 points higher than the percentage who currently support the war in Afghanistan, and 18 points higher than the percentage who approve of the administration's economic policies. Obama is not afraid to push health care reform, send more troops to Afghanistan, or stand by his stimulus program--nor should he be. But why, when it comes to the far less controversial cause of gays serving in the military, is he apparently willing to punt?

UPDATE: Secretary of Defense Robert Gates says he'll consider recommending that the United States apply its policy of discharging openly gay members of the military in a "more humane way."

He vaguely suggests that we could stop applying the policy against those who are outed by third parties. Perhaps someone could explain in the comments section why discharging those who voluntarily out themselves as gay is any more merited. I can't think of a reason.

My mom asks:
Is that enough hope and change for you...?
I doubt there's anyone in the United States who supports gay rights and feels at all mollified by Gates's words.