January 28th, 2010
09:19 AM ET
4 years ago

Activists praise Obama's 'don't ask, don't tell' repeal pledge

President Obama called for a repeal of 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' in his State of the Union address Wednesday night.
President Obama called for a repeal of 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' in his State of the Union address Wednesday night.

Washington (CNN) - President Obama's call in his State of the Union address to repeal the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy this year was met with praise from gay activists and questions by top Republicans as to why it should be changed.

"Tonight, President Obama stepped up to the plate and made a firm commitment to work to finally end 'don't ask, don't tell' in 2010," said Alexander Nicholson, founder and executive director of Servicemembers United. "Although brief, his language was plain, his message was clear, and the outline of his strategy was smart."

In his State of the Union speech, Obama said he would work with Congress and the military to repeal the 1993 law that bars openly gay and lesbian people from serving in the military.

"[We must] repeal the law that denies gay and lesbian Americans the right to serve the country they love because of who they are. It's the right thing to do," Obama said.

Nicholson, a former Army human intelligence collector who was honorably discharged in 2002 under the policy, said Obama did something Wednesday night that will cool criticism he has faced from the gay rights community.

"He didn't pass the buck ... he seemed to take the bull by the horns and fully commit," said Nicholson. "I thought it was pretty clear that he intends to do it this year and take a leadership role."

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soundoff (78 Responses)
  1. RH

    Fine. Only two real things will happen if this policy is repealed: 1) a few flamboyantly homosexual people will enlist just to make noise and generate attention for themselves, and 2) quite a number of people who might have otherwise joined up won't.

    I'm sure a great many people in and out of the military will have no problem with this initiative. I am equally sure that the majority of those same people will viciously deride anybody of a different opinion, regardless of what may be the true motivation behind that opinion in any given case.

    Personally, I would never join any organisation that expected me to barrack, shower, etc. with another person who may be sexually attracted to me. Any attempt to repeal Don't Ask, Don't Tell without a concurrent and parallel initiative to remove any and all gender separation in the armed forces, wherever it may exist, is hypocritical in the extreme.

    January 28, 2010 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  2. PJ

    Obvously, Obama has never lived in a barracks full of other men and had to take showers with them. Yeah, I know the gay response "You are just a homophobe. Gays aren't interested in straight people." I personally am not interested in entering a relationship with women other than my wife. Does that mean I should be able to live in the females' barracks and take showers with them? Faithfullness to my wife or not, I guarantee that sice my sexual persuasion is toward women, I would definitely be checking them out!

    January 28, 2010 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  3. Julie

    John McCain's stance is outdated and pure stupid. As a hetersexual veteran, I knowingly served with soldiers that were gay and lesbians. For a fact know one cares, and did not hinder any unit cohesiveness and did not jeapordize any missions. McCain and his outdated ways give too little credit to the soldiers that are serving now, they unlike him practice the core values and traits that make a good leader. Perhaps the upper chain of command who instill this moronic policy need to go back to their little "blue book" and go over those traits and values,, and those like McCain need to borrow that book and reflect.

    Those who support the "don't ask don't tell policy" are made up of mostly men, men who's masculenity is threated by gay men. It is their own personal issues that they must over come. So hetersexual men need to stop deflecting their inadequacy on gay men, and take the blame themselves.

    January 28, 2010 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
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