January 26th, 2010
08:55 AM ET
13 years ago

Obama to talk 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' during State of the Union

Washington (CNN) - President Barack Obama is expected to discuss the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy during Wednesday night's State of the Union address, according to a top congressional leader.

Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin, D-Michigan, said he had no specifics, but said the president would bring up the issue during the speech. He made his comments after a news conference on Afghanistan Monday.

The "don't ask, don't tell" policy prohibits openly gay men and women from serving in the U.S. armed forces. The policy bans military recruiters or authorities from asking about an individual's sexual orientation, but also prohibits a service member from revealing that he or she is gay.

Obama has said he would end the policy.

Levin, who also supports ending the policy, said the committee plans to hold hearings on the issue in late January or early February.

"We've got to try to get the military leaders to speak up on this issue," Levin said. "I think there's a generational shift taking place … (but) we've also got to show sensitivity to the military."

Public opinion appears to be softening on the matter. A Gallup poll conducted in June of 2009 found that 69 percent of adult respondents favor allowing openly gay men and lesbian women to serve in the U.S. military, up six percentage points from November, 2004.

Opponents of changing the policy argue that allowing gays to serve openly would cause a breakdown of unit cohesion and morale.

Filed under: President Obama
soundoff (41 Responses)
  1. Kris

    It is about time that the repeal of this ridiculous “Don’t ask Don’t tell”. It is a demoralizing policy that serves NOBODY. I expect Employment Non Discrimination Act to be followed through as well.

    January 26, 2010 09:37 am at 9:37 am |
  2. Bob R., Lanham, Maryland

    What necessary reason would a service member have to reveal that he or she is gay? Mr. President, please explain that.

    So far as I have seen in the news, it has been done by new military officers to break the law, abandon their duty, and cop out of their contracts with the US Military in a time of war.

    January 26, 2010 09:41 am at 9:41 am |
  3. Mississippi Mrs.

    Never mind that the Military Commanders DO NOT want to change this policy, and they should be making the call, based on what is in the best interest of our military. We are tying their hands... now President Obama want's to tie their feet as well.

    He has lost so many American votes, which he will NEVER get back as long as he is mirandizing ENEMY COMBATANTS, and causing us to lose valuable intelligence (that has proven itself in saving American lives).

    To appease his leftist base, President Obama will dump on our military yet again.

    ONE and DONE. President Obama is unbelievable.

    January 26, 2010 09:41 am at 9:41 am |
  4. Silence Dogoode

    You all DO remember that Clinton was the one who instigated this bizzare policy. Anyone regardless of religion, race, gender or sexual orientation should be able to serve in the Military.

    You may not agree with the homsexual lifestyle, however I am willing to bet that several homesexuals have served valliantly since the revolution....time to end this idiocy and take it back to no one's business.

    January 26, 2010 09:41 am at 9:41 am |
  5. american patriot

    Dont ask dont tell.

    That should be the Headline for the State of the Union address.

    Dont ask how bad the Country and Economy is and WE WONT TELL.

    This so called President better step up and be honest with the American Public about being in a DEPRESSION not a rescession.

    This country is still on the brink of complete collaps.

    Yet I bet he spews out garbage like the State of the Union is strong.

    In his little corrupt world of rich crooked Lawyers I am sure it is.

    January 26, 2010 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
  6. gt

    go ahead loose the rest of your support ,,,,obama is a boat with out a sail.... its buyers remorse,,,, ugh....

    January 26, 2010 10:04 am at 10:04 am |
  7. John D.

    This guy still does not get it. The rest of the country is voting against gay marriage and this guy is gonna stop the ban on openly gay people serving in the military. You gotta go!

    He is now backpeddling trying to get the gay vote again like he is doing to the middle class. Bribery is illegal! You keep your money and I'll keep mine Obama!

    I can remember when we were blown out of foxholes not in them!

    January 26, 2010 10:05 am at 10:05 am |
  8. Independent

    Good thing they have don't ask don't tell, or Nobama would be in trouble.

    January 26, 2010 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  9. Marty, Grand Rapids MI

    If Obama abandons DADT, he will only further his party's decline as progressives become uninterested in the current leadership.

    January 26, 2010 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  10. MatthewDetroit

    YOU just dont get it Barack. You just dont get it.

    Its the ECONOMY stupid. I cant believe you are so so uninformed.

    You added 1.45 trillion to the deficit last year. 3X President Bushes Highest spending.
    You are adding 1.35 Trillion to the deficit this year... Projected.

    Kill the Health Bill.
    Kill the Cap and Trade Bill.
    Cut all the spending and raises in congres.
    Take Back the Stimulus money that has not been spent.
    Take back the Tarp money that has not been spent.

    January 26, 2010 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  11. AJ

    I dont htink anyone should hold their breath over any meaningful change in policy. So far, Obama has been all talk and very little action.

    January 26, 2010 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  12. Chipster

    "Sensitivity to the military?" Senator, how about if we ask the military to show a little "sensitivity" to our Constitution? People have the right to serve their country if they are capable of serving. If they pass the required tests and physical, they serve. How about that? We desperately need people in the military since we have no draft. The President could not send enough troops to Afghanistan until the end 2009 because of troop shortages. We have thousand of troops right now in Haiti! We need people. Male, Female, black, brown, red, white, gay, straight, Republican, Democrat, Independent, Christian, Jew, Muslin, whatever! If they will serve this country, we need them.

    Got prejudices? Get over them!

    January 26, 2010 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  13. Mike in VA

    When our country is at war on two fronts, refusing to allow brave, qualified men and women to serve is an unspeakably bad idea.

    January 26, 2010 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  14. Jason

    They're already serving – it's just not being talked about so what is the difference?!?!

    January 26, 2010 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  15. Mike

    He never gives specifics. He always has a plan and the plan is usually the exact opposite of what the vast majority of Americans want.

    January 26, 2010 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  16. jenn, philadelphia

    The usual democrat strategy: when in trouble support gays and homosexuals. Patterson in New York had dismal poll numbers, comes out in favor of gay marriage, and a 21 point jump in favor ables. Now the President is feeling some heat, time to bring up don't ask, don't tell and how much he's against it. If he's such a good multi-tasker, he could have proposed a bill to eliminate at the same time he was spending trillions of dollars.

    January 26, 2010 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
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