The Palm Center’s Nathaniel Frank today says that the repeal of DADT is in “grave peril” and that LGBT rights groups must step up the pressure on the president.
Bloggers this week called for the President to take the lead, but also focused their attention on the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the most powerful gay rights group in the world, which has been accused of championing repeal publicly, while privately assuring the White House that it can continue to go slow. Some feel that HRC would rather fundraise for several years on the illusion of momentum than actually help to achieve repeal. If HRC wants to disabuse the community of that suspicion, it will need to ensure that its prized access to Washington power is used to have a real impact, rather than to enjoy that access for its own sake. One reasonable option would be to publicly tell the President that it will not endorse him for re-election if he does not secure repeal in his first term, a promise that Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said he believed the President would keep.
The problem is that professed proponents of repeal keep muttering that we will get repeal this year, without saying how. “There is a clear path to repeal,” said an HRC spokesman this week, “and that’s the one we’re on.” Many of us would like to know what that path is if it does not include demanding the President put it in the base bill. Because legislative repeal will only become harder after the 2010 midterm elections. If President Obama is serious about lifting the ban in his first term, he should put repeal into the 2011 Defense Authorization bill. If the military brass can call for an end to the ban, and if Republicans Dick Cheney and Colin Powell can join them in supporting this step, surely Democrats and gay groups should be on the frontlines of pressing for real action.
RELATED: The Servicemembers Legal Defense Network has joined yesterday’s blog swarm.