Thursday, October 01, 2009

Obama's Exec Order Bans Texting While Driving;
Military Gays Still Discharged

A story today by Jake Tapper of ABC News, and posted on their blog, about the President banning texting-and-driving, has pissed off a news editor friend of mine in DC. First, here's part of what Tapper reported:

ABC News has learned that President Obama signed an executive order last night banning federal employees from text-messaging while on government business, driving government vehicles or using government equipment. The executive order also directs executive departments and agencies to encourage contractors and contractor employees to adopt and enforce policies to ban texting while driving on official government business. [...]

This development fired up my friend, who shared this note with me:

Can you pass this along? He can fucking sign a ban on texting by executive order but he can't stop the firings of hundreds gay and lesbian servicemembers? What the fuck?

He's got a point. How much longer must the gay community before Barack Obama signs an executive order that benefits the gays in US armed forces? Back in June, a NY Times editorial took on this issue, urging the President to take action. An excerpt from the Times:

President Obama said during the campaign that he would work to overturn the ban, but he has made no move beyond asking the Pentagon to assess the implications. Military leaders seem cool to lifting the ban, but we hope they do a fair and honest job. Members of the military and of the general public are much more receptive to the notion of accepting gays than they were in 1993.

Advocates for gay soldiers believe that the administration, on its own, has the authority to prevent the discharge of gay people, perhaps by issuing “stop-loss” orders such as those used to keep troops serving past their original commitments in Iraq — many unwillingly. How much better to use the power to prevent the loss of gay service members eager to keep serving.

President Obama should see if there is indeed any action he could take on his own while awaiting the military’s assessment. [...]

Mr. President, that was published almost four months ago. We gay Americans are still waiting to learn if you've heeded the advice of the Times editorial board and the gay community.

1 comment:

Michael @ said...

There is a major opportunity for opponents of DADT to help reboot the momentum against it that stalled over the summer by joining Movement icons Frank Kameny & Troy Perry, and DADT victims Dan Choi & Anthony Woods, et al. at a protest on Sat. Oct. 10th at 2 pm in Congressional Cemetery in Wash DC.

None of us know for certain why the President has shelved his explicit promises to start fighting for DADT repeal the moment he took office [which can be read at]. The only thing we know for certain is that HE'S DONE NOTHING except:

1. Continue to discharge people day after least 432 so far and counting....even though he's publicly said their discharges "weaken national security."

2. Defended DADT in court.

3. Pretended he does not have the legal authority to freeze discharges IMMEDIATELY in the name of national security when he DOES under the powers given any president in the law known as 10 U.S.C. § 12305 - “Authority of the President to Suspend Certain Laws Relating to Promotion, Retirement, and Separation.” Even Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid says he does and should, and just yesterday HuffPost revealed that Reid sent letters to Obama & Gates last week appealing for help: ""Your leadership in this matter is greatly appreciated and needed at this time."

4. Sent Secretary of Excuses er Defense Gates out to distract the lavendar natives by pretending to be looking for a way in DADT regulations to be more "humane." 3 months later he claims he's still looking for what a 12 yr.-old with a dialup connection & Google could find in minutes.

5. Refused to even answer the letter sent by Cong. Alcee Hastings & 76 other Congress members asking him to instruct Gates to use such legal leeway to suspend discharges until repeal can happen; nor a SECOND letter Hastings has sent. Clearly, Harry Reid need not sit by his mailbox expecting a reply either.

6. Pressured Hastings into withdrawing an amendment to the defense appropriations bill that would have withheld funds for discharges. Can't even debate it!

7. Pressured Sen. Gillebrand into withdraw an amendment that would have put an 18-mo. moratorium weakening national security er on discharges.

As for Congress:

1. No repeal bill AT ALL yet in the Senate.

2. Not enough cosponsors of House bill to pass. House Armed Services Committee Chair is Ike Skelton who INTRODUCED the DADT bill to the House in 1993 after Nunn created it in the Senate.

3. Hearings promised but still "pie in the sky."

4. Are acting [on just about everything, LGBT or not] as if they were the MINORITY party...or have been drugged into a stupor.

During the campaign, in a different context, Obama quoted FDR's response to black civil rights icon A. Philip Randolph: "I agree .... Now go out and make me do it" and said it should be applied to him when he was President.

Let's do that at this DADT protest on Oct 10th which is also a memorial to the first person to challenge the original ban, Leonard Matlovich [an outrageous 34-years ago], who's buried there beneath his famous epitaph, "When I was in the military they gave me a medal for killing two men & a discharge for loving one." [Walt Whitman's lover Peter Doyle is also buried are "just good friends" J. Edgar Hoover & Clyde Tolsen.]

Congressional Cemetery
1801 E Street SE at Potomac Ave. [Near Potomac Ave & Stadium-Armory DC Metro stations.]