Giving what some are calling a “barn-burner of a speech,” President Obama told attendees at the Human Rights Campaign’s annual dinner that he would end the controversial “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy for the U.S. Military.
But he didn’t say when.
President Barack Obama pledged to end the ban on homosexuals serving openly in the military in a speech Saturday, but acknowledged to a cheering crowd that the policy changes he promised on the campaign trail are not coming as quickly as they expected.
“I will end ‘don’t ask-don’t tell,'” Obama said at the annual dinner of the Human Rights Campaign, a gay civil rights advocacy group.
He did not give a timetable for the repeal of the law passed by Congress in 1993 and signed by President Bill Clinton, who also promised to repeal the ban on homosexuals in the military but was blunted by opposition in the military and Congress.
“We should not be punishing patriotic Americans who have stepped forward to serve the country,” Obama said. “We should be celebrating their willingness to step forward and show such courage … especially when we are fighting two wars.”
Coming from a different perspective, a Muslim Imam told me he recognized President Obama’s ability to speak, and speak well. He said that, through his gift of rhetoric, the President can give any group the perception that their concerns are the most important thing in the world to him.
And then the President goes and does what he wants.
The jury is still out on President Obama, really. Congress will have to act to end the ban on homosexuals serving openly in the military. Let’s see what the President accomplishes with health care reform. With a Congress so polarized and afraid to come together to address issues in any rational manner, I’m wondering how much true reform Barack Obama will be able to accomplish at all.
He must step up his efforts to reform if he’s serious. And Congress must learn how to be a deliberative body again.