Obama to Repeal ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’
Near the end of his State of the Union speech, President Obama called for repeal of the 1993 “don’t ask, don’t tell” law for the military.
”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. “It’s the right thing to do.”
The Los Angeles Times recalled that during his presidential campaign, Obama promised to end “don’t ask, don’t tell,” but has not pushed the issue as president, to the disappointment of supporters, including gays and lesbians.
“We wish we had heard him speak of concrete steps tonight,” said Rea Carey, executive director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force. “The next time the president speaks about our community, we expect him to provide a concrete blueprint.”
The Times reported that opponents of letting gays openly serve criticized Obama for the stand.
“At a time when our armed forces are fighting and sacrificing on the battlefield, now is not the time to abandon the policy,” said Sen. John McCain.
“We look forward to working with him on this issue of fundamental fairness and supporting the patriotic Americans who serve — and wish to serve — our country in uniform,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said in a statement.
Some critics have called Obama’s pledge an attempt to appease the left.
“Civilian activists do not understand or respect the culture of the military,” said Elaine Donnelly, president of the Center for Military Readiness, a think tank that opposes allowing gays in the military. “I’m sure the troops will be disheartened by this.”