Some progressives had hoped that President Obama would make a bold statement about the ban on homosexuals serving openly in the military in his State Of The Union address tonight. Obama touched on the topic briefly, but didn’t offer a detailed plan to end the ban many on the left were hoping for.
“This year, I will work with Congress and our military to finally repeal the law that denies gay Americans the right to serve the country they love because of who they are,” Obama said, in the one sentence he devoted to the topic in the speech.
Obama made the mention while talking about his administration’s Civil Rights division and praising the passage of the landmark hate crimes law in October.After the speech, Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-NY) praised Obama’s message on Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, despite its brevity. He called Obama’s take on the issue in the address “courageous.”
“You only need one sentence for the military leaders in this country to hear their commander and chief,” Weiner told reporters.
The Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, a non-profit devoted to defending gay and lesbian service personnel from discrimination and harassment connected to the ‘Dont Ask, Don’t Tell’ rule, put out a statement on Obama’s comments about gays in the military before Obama had finished delivering the speech.
“We applaud the President tonight for his call to Congress to repeal ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ this year,” said Paul DeMiglio, communications director for SLDN. He called on Obama to include a repeal of the rule in the next defense budget bill, which he said was “probably the only and best moving bill where DADT can be killed this year.”
“What is also needed is more attention and leadership to win repeal,” DeMiglio said. “The American public, including conservatives, is overwhelmingly with the commander in chief on this one.”