Obama Will End 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell'

Former supporters turned against Clinton-era policy

By Gabriel Winant,  Newser User

Posted Jan 14, 2009 7:58 AM CST

(Newser) – The end is near for “don’t ask, don’t tell,” reports the San Francisco Chronicle. Rolling back the 1993 policy keeping gay, lesbian, and bisexual members of the military from serving openly was one of Barack Obama's campaign pledges, but some feared he was backing off. But asked about repeal plans, his spokesman said, “You don't hear politicians give a one-word answer much. But it's 'Yes.’”

“The question isn't if we do it, and the question isn't when we do it, it's how we do it,” said the Democratic congresswoman whose 2006 bill repealing the policy stalled because of a likely veto. Three-quarters of the public opposed “don’t ask, don’t tell” in a recent poll, and some onetime supporters, including Colin Powell and Sam Nunn, have turned against it.

In this March 26, 2007, photo, Andrew Chapin takes part in a rally on Capitol Hill, supporting efforts to repeal the military's Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy regarding gay service members.
In this March 26, 2007, photo, Andrew Chapin takes part in a rally on Capitol Hill, supporting efforts to repeal the military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy regarding gay service members.   (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
Center for Military Readiness President Elaine Donnelly, a don't ask, don't tell supporter, looks on as retired Marine Sgt. Eric Alva testifies, July 23, 2008, before a congressional subcommittee.
Center for Military Readiness President Elaine Donnelly, a "don't ask, don't tell" supporter, looks on as retired Marine Sgt. Eric Alva testifies, July 23, 2008, before a congressional subcommittee.   (AP Photo/Lawrence Jackson)
Brad Howard, an intern with the Human Rights Campaign, straightens fallen flags on display on the National Mall in Washington, Nov. 30, 2007, to mark the 14th anniversary of Don't Ask, Don't Tell.
Brad Howard, an intern with the Human Rights Campaign, straightens fallen flags on display on the National Mall in Washington, Nov. 30, 2007, to mark the 14th anniversary of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell."   (AP Photos/Susan Walsh)
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Incoming White House press secretary Robert Gibbs recommits to repealing "don't ask, don't tell."   (goodboydc)

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It's a much harder sell to the general public that that person who died or lost a leg didn't deserve to be serving their country. - Melissa Embser-Herbert, sociologist

It's about competence, about being able to do your job. He was a better leader than most, took care of his guys better than most I'd seen. Who ... cares? Seriously. - Matt Shea, chief of staff of American Legion post 911, on a gay fellow squad leader

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