I went to bed early last night (around 4pm Eastern), and woke up to the news that DADT is being repealed. Congrats to the people who worked on that, and thanks to those people who protested for these last few months to get it passed. Lez Get Real has the letters from and to Congress up showing the agreement.
Like I said before, simply repealing the thing isn't exactly the best situation, since that's no guarantee against discrimination, but it's a whole lot more progress than what we've seen on other pieces of legislation. ENDA's still languishing, for some reason, even though it's more popular on the Hill and throughout America than DADT repeal is. But, for reasons I've written about before that I just don't want to get into today, DADT just gets more people's attention than ENDA, and that's definitely been reflected in the Sufficiently Angry Gay crowd and in the media coverage of these issues.
Anyway, even though I'm all "This ain't enough," as in, "Most LGBT people don't even work for the military so something needs to be done to protect them," there are other people even more pissed off than I am, as always. From the inbox:
CALL TO ACTION - WHAT TO DO ASAP:
SWARM - CALL, EMAIL, FAX THE INDIVIDUALS BELOW NOW DEMANDING THE FOLLOWING THREE PROVISIONS BE INCLUDED IN THE REPEAL LANGUAGE
1. Timeline with firm implementation date, no later than six months after the conclusion of the study in December 2010
2. Non-discrimination language be included to protect LGBT members from discrimination based on sexual orientation
3. Stop-Loss on all discharges under the current DADT law
WHEN CALLING PLEASE REMEMBER THESE ARE OUR ALLIES, SO BE SURE TO THANK THEM FOR THEIR ATTENTION TO DADT REPEAL, HOWEVER, LET THEM KNOW THAT THEIR COMPROMISE IS UNACCEPTABLE - FULL REPEAL NOW, NO COMPROMISES.
I'm not endorsing this action; the proposed amendment isn't perfect but it's a huge step forward. There'll always be another day, etc. There has to be some reward for some progress on this; moreover, it's not guaranteed to get through Congress as it is, so it'll need some pushing.
I don't disagree with the facts in the email. The first point, that it could be repealed long after the study is finished, is really rather quaint. I don't know why these people think that the study will be done by December 2010 - it's a huge undertaking, questioning 350,000 people on the topic, and they just hired an independent research firm last week. There's no way it gets done, with all the data processed, by December.
They're also right that DADT repeal will happen at the White House's and Pentagon's discretion afterwards, after policy has been put into place so that the gays and bisexuals can come out, but that's a much better position for us to be in than right now. The pressure will squarely be on Obama, instead of back and forth between him and Congress, and Obama's shown that he can enact these sorts of policy changes after Congress acts, like with lifting the HIV travel ban.
So, yes, this is an obvious "something" before the midterms to show that Congress is working on this even though the military clearly doesn't want to do anything soon. The military's approval was apparently necessary for Congress to act, so I don't see a way around the delay. "The troops" have been beatified in our culture to the point that no one wants to seem unsupportive of the military in anyway, and it's not like DADT repeal activists have done anything but reify the sainthood of the troops.
What I like is that the dynamic - that no one wants to act on this before the midterms because they're afraid of losing the far-right - is turned on its head. Now they're more concerned with us getting mad and not voting. It's also nice to see pressure from people to Congress, but also from Congress to the White House.
There is no non-discrimination language too, but I'm not really seeing the point there. There isn't much history at the federal level of presidents undoing previous anti-discrimination orders. Within the military itself, harassment (especially sexual harassment) is already banned, and most promotions are based on objective factors, like number of years in some capacity, level of studies completed, etc., that nondiscrimination language isn't applicable (plus we don't have it for civilians as it is...).
And stop-loss wasn't going to happen. Sorry. It's a great idea, but Obama's already refused to do it for a year and a half now, so there's no chance of getting him to do it now.
Also missing from the amendment is anything to allow transgender and transsexual people to serve in the military. They get it every which way, even disrespected as veterans.
Also missing is benefits for the partners and families of LGB troops, but then even LGB bureaucrats aren't getting that right now. It'd be good to see Baldwin's law regarding domestic partner benefits for federal workers pass.
I just don't think we swarm now. There's no reason to. This isn't everything, but it's something. This isn't the sort of compromise that asks us to sit on our hands while the right chips away at it; instead gays will keep their anger and their beliefs on what military policy should be and keep on advocating for that.