Still smarting from the unsuccessful same-sex marriage battle in California, some gay-rights activists are turning to another front: repealing the so-called “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy that prevents gays and lesbians from serving openly in the U.S. military.
By John Marelius
San Diego Union-Tribune
Last month, President-elect Barack Obama and nearly 30 new congressional Democrats were elected, giving activists hope that the 15-year-old policy can be overturned.
“I think the election of Barack Obama is a sea change in terms of moving the issue forward,” said Aubrey Sarvis, executive director of the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, which is dedicated to ending the policy and assisting military personnel affected by it. “I think ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ can be repealed in the next Congress.”
Democrat Obama repeatedly advocated ending the policy during his campaign.
But Obama – mindful of the uproar that former President Bill Clinton caused by raising the issue of gays in the military just days into his presidency – has also signaled that he intends to take his time to build consensus for a change within the military.
“I know that Barack Obama is committed to raising this issue,” Rep. Susan Davis told a recent fundraising reception for the legal defense network in Mission Hills. “I also know that he’s got a very full plate.”