Barack Obama campaigned for the US presidency promising to repeal Don't Ask, Don't Tell and allow gays and lesbians to serve openly in the military. People familiar with the long struggle are often confused because when Ellen Tauscher was in Congress, she put forward a bill three times that would repeal Don't Ask, Don't Tell and would make it illegal to discriminate based on sexual orientation. Ellen Tauscher left Congress in 2009 and became the Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security Affairs.
Patrick Murphy struggled to take her place in the House on this issue and largely got punked by party elders over and over. But, don't fret, Paddy, America got punked more than you did.
Because Americans wrongly believe that what Ellen Tauscher fought for is what went before the House and would have gone before the Senate if Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid hadn't screwed up the process.
But that's not what went before the House on May 27th.
Due to the fact that Tauscher worked hard on the issue, a lot of people assumed that it was still the same bill. And those who didn't? We're talking about a 1028 page bill. There ought to be a law against taht. Page 184 is where Section 536 ("Department Of Defense Policy Concerning Homosexuality In The Armed Forces") begins.
If you read over it (PDF format warning, click here), you'll learn some reality.
What the Congress put forward was not the repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell and outlawing discrimination. All they'd do is overturn Don't Ask, Don't Tell.
But that's what we all want, right?
If you're historically ignorant, you probably think so. If you know the history of how Don't Ask, Don't Tell comes about, you know the courts were advancing LGBT rights -- including for service members -- when the military imposed their ban on gay service members. This was the ban that Bill Clinton wanted to overturn but, as president, he faced open rebellion (it wasn't at all hidden) from the likes of War Criminal Colin Powell and others. So Don't Ask, Don't Tell was the compromise pushed through. It was supposed to prevent the military from asking (witch hunts) and supposed to mean that if service members stayed in the closet, they could continue serving.
Judge Viriginia Phillips ruled on Don't Ask, Don't Tell and the White House has appealed her decision. She found that Don't Ask, Don't Tell was unconstitutional. She then went further and issued an injunction barring all discharges under DADT while her ruling was on appeal. The White House also appealed that and won. They can continue to discharge under DADT while they await their chance to appeal Phillips' verdict.
If Barack's enablers weren't such damn liars, we probably wouldn't be writing this piece. But as one lie after another was offered as to why the White House was fighting the verdict, a friend of C.I.'s in the Justice Department got sick of it and passed on what the bill and Congress really said and why the White House was fighting the verdict.
Phillips did what Barack promised on the campaign trail. But Barack and the Congress are not trying to live up to that. What Phillips did was to repeal DADT and to rule it unconstitutional. There were a number of lies about why Barack 'had to' appeal but the one the administration fell back on whispering was that if they didn't appeal, it was a verdict. From a lower court! And they needed to follow their plan to get rid of it because otherwise a future president could again impose it!
That really didn't make sense because Judge Phillips' ruling didn't prevent Congress from passing the bill currently before them.
So it never made sense and that was because it was a lie.
The White House isn't happy with Judge Phillips for doing what Barack promised because that's not what was ever going to be delivered.
Instead, DADT gets repealed and then? Discrimination can continue or not. Congress isn't weighing in on that. With Ellen's bill -- all three times it was introduced -- Congress was weighing in and declaring the discrimination illegal. Not now.
The current bill repeals DADT but allows the Pentagon to decide what should happen.
Should the bill pass in the next two years, the Pentagon may want to go along with Barack (or may not) and might institute a policy to allow gays and lesbians to serve openly.
In other words, it could happen. It's conceivable.
But by watering down Ellen's bill, by refusing to call the discrimination out, what the Congress and Barack are doing is allowing DADT to return in the future.
By not passing a law declaring the discrimination illegal, there's nothing to prevent DADT being reinstated under the next president.
Why was this section stripped from the bill?
Why was the protection stripped away?
It wasn't due to space limitations. When you're bill numbers 1028 pages, you're clearly not concerned about length. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi can answer why she bargained away equality.
But thus far, no one's bothered to even ask her.
Thus far, the Congress and Barack have pulled a big con game on Americans.
Judge Virginia Phillips' ruling is being appealed for the sole reason that she went further than President Barack Obama wanted to go.
[For an interesting discussion of DADT, refer to last week's