(WASHINGTON, D.C.) During his first State of the Union address, President Barack Obama pledged to strike down Don’t Ask Don’t Tell.
“This year, I will work with Congress and our military to finally repeal the law that denies gay Americans the right to serve the country they love because of who they are,” said President Obama. “It's the right thing to do.”
“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. This effort will indeed be a challenge for our community, and the resistance of those who support discrimination in our armed forces should not be underestimated. But one thing is now clear – a full assault on this failed law is under way by those who recognize that discrimination is not an American value.”
Other LGBT rights groups, however, remain skeptical.
"We have heard promises before about ending 'Don’t Ask, Don't Tell' and we welcome the President's statement that the time has finally come to fulfill that promise,” said Lambda Legal Executive Director Kevin Cathcart. "Changing this discriminatory policy is long overdue. The military is our nation's largest employer and this government sanctioned discrimination must end.”
“President Obama vowed this year to work with Congress and the military to finally repeal the reprehensible ban on openly lesbian, gay and bisexual service members,” said National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Executive Director Rea Carey. “While we know the State of the Union speech aims to present broad visions, the next time President Obama speaks to or about our community, he must provide a concrete blueprint for his leadership and action moving forward — this includes his willingness to stop the discharges happening on his watch until Congress can fulfill its responsibility to overturn the law. The time for broad statements is over. The time to get down to business is overdue. We wish we had heard him speak of concrete steps [during his speech].”
“‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ is unnecessary, unfair and immoral,” adds Carey. “It undermines military readiness and discriminates against brave and patriotic men and women eager and willing to serve their country. We once again call upon the president and Congress to act quickly and decisively to finally repeal ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.’ It’s long past time to place fairness above foot-dragging.
“Until that happens, the state of the union for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Americans will largely remain one of inequality and discrimination. Indeed, it is a disgrace that patriotic service members are still being discharged under the President’s watch, LGBT employees nationwide are still being fired for nothing other than bias, and marriage inequality relegates our families to second-class status. If the President is truly serious about job creation and boosting the economic well-being of Americans, he must provide leadership and action in ending ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,’ passing the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, and eliminating the potent economic disparities imposed by the unjust federal marriage ban. Our country can and must do better.”
Senator John McCain (R-Ariz) feels that despite being successful, the time to repeal DADT has come.
“This successful policy has been in effect for over fifteen years, and it is well understood and predominantly supported by our military at all levels,” said McCain. “We have the best trained, best equipped, and most professional force in the history of our country, and the men and women in uniform are performing heroically in two wars. At a time when our Armed Forces are fighting and sacrificing on the battlefield, now is not the time to abandon the policy.”