From The Daily Beast:
“Don’t Ask” Fight Hits Senate
New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand is considering bringing the battle over “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” to the Senate this week, by introducing an amendment that would put an 18-month moratorium on the discharge of gays serving in the military, The Daily Beast has learned.
It would be the first time since the implementation of the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy in 1993 that senators are forced to declare their position on the gay ban. A Senate staffer familiar with the matter says Gillibrand may introduce her amendment on Tuesday to the Defense reauthorization bill. If the amendment were to pass, gay-rights leaders expect it would stand a strong chance of being approved by the House and could be signed into law by President Obama, who has expressed his desire for the ban to be lifted. Rep. Patrick Murphy is trying to build support for a bill that has already been introduced in the House that would repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”.
But Gillibrand’s move would circumvent a long legislative process at a time when an average of two gay soldiers per day are being discharged.
I am really starting to wonder if anyone is paying attention to this anymore. And by “this” I mean the fact that we are still fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan. I think that years from now, this will be described as one of the dirtiest little war effort ever perpetrated — BushC$ started this war, then used the failed economy to shield the ugly truths from the average American — no draft means no war me! yippee! — while the poor and disenfranchised have no choice but to enlist. And meanwhile, those who do enlist, for whatever personal reasons, cannot even be assured they will not be discriminated against. “Fighting for our freedom” is often the battle cry of those who serve — can you imagine serving America — and then being discharged simply because of who you are?
According to a Gallup poll conducted in May, 69 percent of Americans favor gays openly serving in the military.
Over the last month, the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy has been the focus of growing media attention. President Obama was unequivocal about ending “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” during the campaign, causing gay activists to question why he has delayed its cancellation during his first few months in office.
Senator Gillibrand has been an outspoken opponent of the policy and has vowed to repeal the ban. Facing a contested primary next year, Gillibrand is trying to gain support from New York’s gay community. As a representative, she had the lowest pro-gay ratings of any New York Democrat, according to a Human Rights Campaign scorecard.
Gillibrand has also been an outspoken supporter of Lt. Dan Choi, an Arab linguist who is slated to become the latest service member to lose his job because of the policy. Choi, who served for 15 months in Iraq, has helped make the ban on gays a front-and-center issue. Once his discharge becomes official, he’ll become the 266th service member to be kicked out since Obama took office.
The president’s spokesman, Robert Gibbs, who is now asked about the issue regularly in his daily press briefings, has repeatedly insisted, “The only and best way to do this [repeal the ban] is through a durable comprehensive legislative process.”
On July 26, 1948, President Truman issued Executive Order 9981 establishing equality of treatment and opportunity in the Armed Services.
That seems to have held up pretty well, and has been noted before, Truman had a lot less support for his initiative than does Obama. A timeline shows that President Truman was a fierce advocate — both before and after signing the Executive Order.