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21 Senators urge Obama’s Justice Department not to appeal DADT injunction

DADT trial

(Cross-posted at LGBTPOV. Also, if you haven’t signed Courage’s petition to Attorney General Eric Holder, click here to sign it. More than 30,000 Americans have added their name already, telling Holder not to appeal the decision by Judge Phillips. — Eden)

By Karen Ocamb

gays in the militaryWe have heard repeatedly that the legislative repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell would be handled after the election, in the lame duck session of Congress. However, polls show that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, despite the GOP distancing itself from his opponent, is in trouble in his Nevada re-election race with Tea Party candidate Sharron Angle.

Meanwhile, in an excellent piece of reporting, The Advocate’s Kerry Eleveld says Obama and his top military aides want to wait until after the Pentagon’s report is filed before any legislative action is taken:

“[It’s] best to pay attention when [Defense Sec.] Gates told reporters a couple weeks ago that he and the president both held the opinion that “the best legislation would be legislation informed by the review” that’s due out in early December. You can bet that Gates wasn’t freelancing that answer and that it’s likely a truer reflection of White House intent on repeal.

Unfortunately, we have also learned from some recent reporting by the iconic Bob Woodward of The Washington Post that the relationship between the Pentagon and the White House is a classic tail-wagging-the-dog folly in many instances.”

Bottom line, from my point of view, President Obama is just as afraid of or stymied by the military as President Clinton was – which got us into this mess in the first place. Which is why ordering the Justice Department not to appeal Judge Virginia Phillips’ injunction against further enforcement of DADT might be the best way to go. Or they can just do nothing and let the order take effect. Meanwhile – Servicemembers Legal Defense Network urges all closeted gay servicemembers to stay in the closet until the policy is repealed or definitively overturned.

There are at least 21 senators – up for re-election – who have signed a letter urging Attorney General Eric Holder not to appeal Judge Phillips injunction. The Justice Department has 60 days to decide whether to appeal or not – which means Holder could wait until after the mid-term elections in 21 days. Either way – decide now or later – this is a moment when the two civil rights scholars Barack Obama and Eric Holder – are faced with acting on principle, what they profess to believe in – or giving in to the way things have always been, despite the promise of “change.”

Here is the senators’ just issued press release underscoring that position:

With Judge Ordering End to ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,’ Udall, Gillibrand, 19 Other Senators Urge White House not to Appeal

Senators: Appeal of Judge’s Ruling, Injunction would Harm Military’s and Government’s Interests

Washington, D.C. – Today, after a federal judge in California ordered a halt to the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” law banning gays from serving openly in the military, U.S. Senators Mark Udall (D-CO) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) wrote a letter signed by 19 other Senators, urging U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder not to appeal the judge’s original decision and to allow the injunction to stand.

Not appealing the decision would allow Congress to act to repeal the unconstitutional law, which harms our national security, the Senators argued in their letter. An appeal of the recent federal court decision – and of the injunction issued today – could set back those congressional efforts, they added.

Udall and Gillibrand originally sent the letter to Holder in September. They are now joined by Senators John Kerry (D-MA), Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), Roland Burris (D-IL), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), Mary Landrieu (D-LA), Bernard Sanders (I-VT), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), Tim Johnson (D-S.D.), Al Franken (D-MN), Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Russ Feingold (D-WI), Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.), Richard Durbin (D-IL), Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), Michael Bennet (D-CO), Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), and Ben Cardin (D-MD). The additional signatures are a testament to the support in the U.S. Senate for repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”

“In light of important national security concerns, we respectfully request that you, in your capacity at the Department of Justice, refrain from appealing this decision or the permanent injunction granted against this law,” the Senators wrote.

“President Obama, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates and Admiral Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs, have all publicly advocated for the repeal of this harmful law,” the Senators continued. “There is no legal or military justification and not one shred of credible evidence that supports continuing the discriminatory DADT law, and considering the guidance of the commander-in-chief and the nation’s top two defense officials, we urge you to refrain from seeking an appeal. The federal court decision was a step in the right direction, and we are confident that the Senate will take the ultimate step by voting this fall on the fiscal year 2011 National Defense Authorization Act to permanently lift the ban on gays in the military. Although we understand that only action by Congress can bring real finality to this issue, we believe an appeal of the recent federal court decision could set back those congressional efforts. Therefore, we request your assistance in ensuring that we can eradicate this discriminatory law permanently and urge the Justice Department to choose not to appeal any court decision that would keep this law in place.”

The full letter to Attorney General Holder follows:

Dear Mr. Attorney General,

We are writing to bring to your attention the recently issued decision of Judge Virginia A. Phillips of the United States District Court of the Central District of California in Log Cabin Republicans v. United States, which declared that the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” (DADT) underlying law violates the U.S. Constitution’s guarantees of due process and free speech, thereby rendering DADT unconstitutional. In light of important national security concerns, we respectfully request that you, in your capacity at the Department of Justice, refrain from appealing this decision or the permanent injunction granted against this law.

The following quote from the judge’s decision captures the overwhelming reason why the decision should stand: “Among those discharged were many with critically needed skills … Far from furthering the military’s readiness, the discharge of these service men and women had a direct and deleterious effect on this governmental interest.” As one of many criteria that the Justice Department will examine in deciding whether to appeal the permanent injunction to this policy, we ask that you examine whether or not an appeal furthers a legitimate governmental interest. We would say any appeal does not.

Additionally, DADT harms military readiness, as well as the morale and the cohesiveness of our armed forces, at a time when our military’s resources are strained and unity is critically important. For every person discharged after ten years of service, six new servicemembers would need to be recruited to recover the level of experience lost by that discharge. This not only weakens our military, but neither is it an effective use of our government resources or taxpayer monies.

President Obama, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates and Admiral Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs, have all publicly advocated for the repeal of this harmful law. There is no legal or military justification and not one shred of credible evidence that supports continuing the discriminatory DADT law, and considering the guidance of the commander-in-chief and the nation’s top two defense officials, we urge you to refrain from seeking an appeal. The federal court decision was a step in the right direction, and we are confident that the Senate will take the ultimate step by voting this fall on the fiscal year 2011 National Defense Authorization Act to permanently lift the ban on gays in the military.

Although we understand that only action by Congress can bring real finality to this issue, we believe an appeal of the recent federal court decision could set back those congressional efforts. Therefore, we request your assistance in ensuring that we can eradicate this discriminatory law permanently and urge the Justice Department to choose not to appeal any court decision that would keep this law in place. Thank you for your attention to this urgent matter. We look forward to hearing from you.

73 Comments

  • 1. Kathleen  |  October 12, 2010 at 1:56 pm

  • 2. Rhie  |  October 12, 2010 at 1:58 pm

    Check here too. Also, the fact that the military stymied Clinto and pretty much every president before or since should be evidence that isn't Obama's fault that DADT is still in place.

  • 3. Ronnie  |  October 12, 2010 at 2:03 pm

    : / ….Ronnie

  • 4. Bob  |  October 12, 2010 at 2:16 pm

    Congress asking for Obama's help, could this be his out??

  • 5. Leo  |  October 12, 2010 at 2:23 pm

    <cite>Not appealing the decision would allow Congress to act to repeal the unconstitutional law</cite>

    I don't get this. Isn't it the other way around? If the decision isn't appealed then the law is null and void, thus leaving nothing for Congress to repeal.

  • 6. AndrewPDX  |  October 12, 2010 at 2:30 pm

    Ah… that's where all my emails went!

    Liberty, Equality, Fraternity
    Andrew

  • 7. Tasty Salamanders  |  October 12, 2010 at 2:33 pm

    I'm not an expert on these matters but I think the Court decision while voiding the law still leaves it on the books but just unenforceable. If Congress appeals it that means the law is actually removed as opposed to being non-enforced. But I could be way off.

  • 8. Kauai Guy  |  October 12, 2010 at 2:49 pm

    With DADT declared unconstitutional a vacuum is created in "Military Policy". Does the military fall back to the old "ask first" policy? Does it just let enforcement fall to the whim of the Executive? Without legislative directive from congress the 'commander-in-chief' does have a say in military policy. This creates a major problem for all serving in the military…not so much now, but in the future.

  • 9. Bluprntguy  |  October 12, 2010 at 2:57 pm

    I find it impossible to imagine that the worlds largest, and arguably best military has no contingency plan for this circumstance. Certainly they were prepared for this day when this hateful and discriminatory law would be stricken by a judge.

  • 10. JonT  |  October 12, 2010 at 3:42 pm

    ⚣ ☮

  • 11. Jonathan H  |  October 12, 2010 at 6:03 pm

    Impossible to imagine, really? I can totally buy that after the last ten years.

  • 12. Rhie  |  October 12, 2010 at 6:12 pm

    I agree with you. The military is good at things like logistics and battle preparedness and mobilizing troops who are trained to follow orders and get things done efficiently and smoothly. That's good – that's what a military SHOULD be good at. They are not good at things like feelings and politics and integrating troops. It will quite literally take an act of Congress to do that.

    The upside to the military being good at the things above is that integrating LGBT will be relatively smooth once it becomes law. An order is an order and good soldier follows it. The end.

  • 13. Jonathan H  |  October 12, 2010 at 6:18 pm

    Actually Rhie I was thinking of the "having a plan" part. I mean, what exactly was the long-term strategy for Afghanistan or Iraq when either war started? All I remember hearing was a lot of empty talk along the lines of "it'll all be over by Christmas".

  • 14. Rhie  |  October 12, 2010 at 6:21 pm

    Ah yea that too. Anyone who has been paying the slightest bit of attention to the news or reality for the last ten years knows we didn't and still don't have any sort of plan for any of it. Did you happen to see the interviews Rachel Maddow did when she was in Afghanistan? When she got the soldiers away from the brass, the answer to the question "Is there a plan?" was always "I dunno.".

  • 15. Jonathan H  |  October 12, 2010 at 6:28 pm

    No, I missed those. I finally completely stopped watching tv a couple years ago after I saw Sarah Palin speaking buzzword gibberish in incomplete sentences followed by someone gushing about what a great speaker she is. The good news is that my aim sucked and the beer bottle I threw didn't hit anything important.

  • 16. Rhie  |  October 12, 2010 at 6:44 pm

    Ah fair enough. She does have a blog and her whole show is free online at iTunes and her site maddowblog.msnbc.com. I sound like a commercial, I know, but I am not getting paid or anything. I really just think she is the best thing to happen political discourse since the Lincoln Douglas debates.

  • 17. Kathleen  |  October 12, 2010 at 6:46 pm

    Highly recommend "No End in Sight" documentary if you want to know just how bad the 'planning' (or lack of it) there was for Iraq.

  • 18. Jonathan H  |  October 12, 2010 at 6:48 pm

    Yeah, I see clips of her stuff on various blogs all the time, she seems to be one of the few on tv who's not a comedian and actually does their job. Sometimes it feels like we've gone back to the middle ages, only the jester tells the truth.

  • 19. Jonathan H  |  October 12, 2010 at 6:50 pm

    Kathleen that really does sound interesting, but I'd rather read a book about it. I mean, next time my aim could be better and I might break something expensive.
    At least with a book you know what you're going to throw and it's not likely to do much damage.

  • 20. Rhie  |  October 12, 2010 at 6:55 pm

    Kathleen – Will check it out. Is on Instant Play in Netflix.

    Jonathan, yea there is a reason she is quoted and shown in a lot of places. Republicans who are sane, smart and not bigoted (and yes they still exist) respect her even if they don't agree.

    I have a lot of sympathy for that view that on jesters tell the truth, heh.

    In my opinion, the best voice on the Right is Meghan McCain, who is not at ALL like her father. She wrote Crazy, Sexy, Politics which I do recommend. I didn't think it would be as good, as interesting and as insightful as it is. She is vastly underestimated. She does need polish, but polish of who she is not a complete pearls-and-tweed makeover.

  • 21. Jonathan H  |  October 12, 2010 at 7:27 pm

    "Republicans who are sane, smart and not bigoted (and yes they still exist)"

    I'm willing to take your word for it, Rhie, but I have little respect for their sanity or intelligence or tolerance as long as the Right continues to abide the Teabaggers and the Birthers and NOM and all these loud little groups of crazy and corruption. I can't take them seriously until they start telling these nuts to pipe down 'cause the adults are talking.

    It's like someone was saying on the bullying thread, their silence implies approval. The Republicans started pulling for the racist xenophobe vote back in the '60s with the Southern Strategy and now they've diversified and expanded into the sort of paranoid lunatics that shouldn't have any more social power than the ability to get some education, or perhaps therapy and medication.

    It's bad enough to treat this madness as an equal position and give it that power, but now I think the inmates are running the asylum. I think the same paranoid xenophobic bigots that were exploited for easy votes 30 or 40 years ago are the ones in charge of the GOP today. There's a feedback loop there that scares the hell out of me because it's just going to get crazier as long as the rest of the world gives them any sort of power.

  • 22. Sagesse  |  October 12, 2010 at 9:44 pm

    "President Obama is just as afraid of or stymied by the military as President Clinton was"

    I'm going with stymied. That Obama, Gates and Mullen can't muzzle the four service chiefs, and couldn't manage to appoint a new Marine Commandant who agreed with them, says it all. I support the military, but their arrogance and political clout are scary… all in the name of 'nobody is going to tell us what to do'.

    I think it's poetic justice that a woman judge has done just that.

  • 23. Sagesse  |  October 12, 2010 at 10:03 pm

    "poorly chosen words.” The man's an asshat.

    Paladino Apologizes for Remarks About Gays
    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/10/13/nyregion/13pala

    And the ever-helpful Rabbis wrote his speech with him.

  • 24. Sagesse  |  October 12, 2010 at 11:58 pm

    Posted on an earlier thread

    Has anyone else heard about this? My son said he was 'facebooked', and is wearing purple today (and me too). Seems to be a grassroots student movement, and I've seen articles from as far away as Australia

    Students Respond To Suicides With Purple Ribbons
    http://www.vpr.net/news_detail/89002/

  • 25. Ed Cortes  |  October 13, 2010 at 12:14 am

    Where is Feinstein's signature?

  • 26. alaneckert  |  October 13, 2010 at 12:19 am

    random symbol

  • 27. Richard A. Walter (s  |  October 13, 2010 at 12:53 am

    This is exactly why we need to ramp up our efforts to make sure that state-sanctioned discrimination is ended at all levels, in every state, and at the federal level as well. This is why we reallyl need to get out the vote and get these extreme right wing, pseudo-religious nuts out of every office they are running for. And one of the first ones we need to oust is John McLame! And everyone in Kentucky needs to get out the vote to get rid of Mitch McConnell!

  • 28. Judy  |  October 13, 2010 at 12:56 am

    Kathleen, thanks for the documentary recommendation. I love to watch documentaries on Netflix Instant watch.

  • 29. elliom  |  October 13, 2010 at 12:57 am

    How Marriage Survives http://www.nytimes.com/2010/10/13/opinion/13wolfe

  • 30. Anonygrl  |  October 13, 2010 at 12:59 am

    No, you are right. Either way, it is a dead issue, though, and the results are the same.

  • 31. Anonygrl  |  October 13, 2010 at 1:07 am

    Soldiers don't know the plans anyway, so asking them is kind of silly. Generals know plans. Commanders in Chief know plans. Soldiers FOLLOW plans (not even that, they follow individual orders) when given them.

  • 32. Don in Texas  |  October 13, 2010 at 1:11 am

    It seems to me that the judge's determination that DADT violates the Constitution is controlling.

    Any law enacted by Congress that contravenes the Constitution is null and void. Otherwise, the Constitution is meaningless and subject to the whims of a Congressional majority.

    Any other interpretation, in my judgment, would destroy the doctrine of judicial review.

    Unless the appellate courts overturn Judge Phillips' decision and permanent injunction, DADT is null and void.

  • 33. Ronnie  |  October 13, 2010 at 1:15 am

    Adam Levine says "It Gets Better"

    I love that he says this…..

    "All I can say is urge the kids that are doing this and hurting these kids is stop. You're gonna regret it. You're gonna regret it someday. When you grow up and realize that you don't treat people that way"

    <3…Ronnie:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fIwnrbP4P_s&fe

  • 34. Ronnie  |  October 13, 2010 at 1:31 am

    Oooooo…There are some skeletons in Paladino's closet…..
    http://www.advocate.com/News/Daily_News/2010/10/1

    Paladino’s Gay Nephew Speaks Out
    By Julie Bolce
    According to the New York Post, “In a brief phone interview yesterday, Hannon, in his first public remarks on the incident, told the Post, ‘Obviously, I'm very offended by his comments.’”

    The Post reported that Hannon has not reported for work at the Buffalo campaign headquarters since Sunday

    (me) but wait it gets better…..

    "On Monday, Paladino advisor Roger Stone told The Advocate that Paladino, a wealthy Buffalo businessman, had embraced his nephew at a time in his life when other family members struggled with his sexual orientation.

    (me) really?…..but wait for it….this is the kicker…..

    Meanwhile, the Associated Press reports that state records show that Paladino once collected rent from two gay clubs located in buildings he owned in downtown Buffalo. One of them, called Cobalt, operated as a gay bar from 2004 to 2005 and was run by Paladino’s son, William

    (me) soooooo…you don't have a problem taking our money but you have major problems with the way we live our lives & think you have the right to control every aspect of our personal lives a regulate them according to your "beliefs & definitions" (which, by the way, have me perplexed & feeling as if I'm frolicking in land called Honah Lee) ?….&…um…your son ran a Gay bar?….am I missing something?

    : / ….Ronnie

  • 35. Sagesse  |  October 13, 2010 at 1:50 am

    Haven't had a chance to read these essays yet, but usually there is intelligent commentary and a variety of viewpoints, all expressed politely.

    The Future of 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell'
    http://www.nytimes.com/roomfordebate/2010/10/13/t

  • 36. Santa Barbara Mom  |  October 13, 2010 at 1:55 am

    http://www.facebook.com/#!/event.php?eid=11381983

    This is the message I got for next Wednesday:
    PURPLE PRIDE AGAINST THE INTOLERANT TIDE

  • 37. Santa Barbara Mom  |  October 13, 2010 at 1:58 am

    Sorry, I see that link didn't work. But it's about wearing purple on October 20th.

  • 38. Dave P.  |  October 13, 2010 at 2:06 am

    And it's not just some fringe elements making the 'mainstream' Republicans look bad – Remember the OFFICIAL TEXAS GOP PARTY PLATFORM ? The one that advocates re-criminalizing sodomy? And even making same sex marriage an actual FELONY? What are they going to do when legally married gay couples drive through Texas? Send the swat team to chase them down as if they were dangerous criminals?

    This jaw-dropping lunacy is not from some fringe group, it's the official position of the Texas Republican Party.

    Any "Republicans who are sane, smart and not bigoted" should have ZERO tolerance for crap like this. They should demand that their party crawl out of their cave and join the human race and start acting like Americans, or they should raise a middle finger to the GOP and leave the party immediately and start working to elect the opposition. Silence = tacit approval.

  • 39. Dave P.  |  October 13, 2010 at 2:12 am

    It sounds like he's sorry that he got in so much trouble. I see nothing that indicates that he realizes he did anything wrong, or that he understands that there is something wrong with his views. I liked this reaction to his 'apology':

    The City Council speaker, Christine C. Quinn, who is the city’s highest-ranking openly gay official, said: “This is not a question of choosing poor words or a misinterpretation of his remarks. His beliefs are wrong and filled with hate.”

  • 40. Sagesse  |  October 13, 2010 at 2:13 am

    @Santa Barbara Mom

    Yes, I've seen different dates as well.

  • 41. Carpool Cookie  |  October 13, 2010 at 2:21 am

    "“Republicans who are sane, smart and not bigoted (and yes they still exist)”"

    Are there any Republican signatures on the letter that's the subject of this article? Because if not, it seems to indicate there's no support on this issue from that side.

  • 42. Carpool Cookie  |  October 13, 2010 at 2:37 am

    In the article, he's quoted as saying, “I will reach out to leaders of the gay community to educate me on how to better represent my support for the rights of all citizens.”

    How old is he at this point? How many different people and ideas has he been exposed to as an educated, well-traveled person?

    I feel he's just another bad apple who's missed the boat.

  • 43. Ann S.  |  October 13, 2010 at 2:40 am

    |}

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  • 44. Ann S.  |  October 13, 2010 at 2:44 am

    Some consider the military one of the last places in the US where it is safe to speak overtly about being Christian, proselytizing and talking about crusades for Christ, and where adultery and homosexual behavior are banned.

    Scary.

  • 45. Ed Cortes  |  October 13, 2010 at 2:44 am

    No repubicans

  • 46. Ozymandias71  |  October 13, 2010 at 2:46 am

    *taps microphone* Is this thing on? *winces at the feedback*

    I've been in lurker-mode for a little while, watching the developments here with interest, excitement, outrage and sadness but I wanted to comment on DADT.

    I know there's been some discussion/disagreement/controversy over how relevant DADT repeal would be to us LGBT folks gaining Equality, as compared to marriage. Personally, I think the multi-pronged approach is excellent – marriage, anti-bullying, discrimination law, and military service are all being addressed simultaneously, which continues to push LGBT issues out in the public eye, and folks who otherwise wouldn't think twice keep seeing and hearing our stories – more and more are re-evaluating their stances, or even taking a stand where before their opinion was 'meh, why should I care?'

    Living in the Heartland, I have seen first-hand how much respect the folks here give to the men and women who serve in uniform – and rightfully so – but sometimes I am amazed by just HOW much respect is given. There are a lot of Blue Star flags flying in front of houses in Tulsa and in the surrounding communities – and I have been impressed by all the flowers, gifts and thank-you cards left anonymously in front of these homes. A friend of mine who recently returned from Marine Boot camp commented on how surprised he was the first time he had someone pay for his meal at a restaurant, or how many people stop him on the street to shake his hand and say 'Thank you for your service!' People here go out of their way to show their appreciation in so many ways, it's really quite amazing.

    In my conversations with conservative friends, I've noticed this respect expressed. Even those who have a lot of issues with Marriage Equality will stand up and say that Gays and Lesbians should be allowed to serve, and their outrage at stories like Victor Ferenbach, Dan Choi and others I've shared is quite impressive. To these folks, the idea that men and women who put their lives on the line for our freedoms should then be denied those freedoms, and worse yet, be forced to live in paranoia and lie just to serve their country is completely unacceptable.

    Showing conservatives these stories, and showing them how unjust DADT truly is, well that's vital – and it's working. Folks often think that DADT is an 'ok' policy – as long as we don't 'advertise' then we can serve. When I show them how it is truly implemented, how the witch hunts truly operate (using these testimonies) they're aghast at what has been happening and almost always, their response is the same – 'I didn't know!'

    Here in conservative Oklahoma, it seems that pushing the stories of DADT persecution has a lot of traction – like I said before, folks who get squeamish at the idea of two guys getting married suddenly become big supporters when DADT is discussed, and how our men and women in uniform are roundly abused, discriminated against, and persecuted.

    As always, these are my two cents. *plink* *plink*

  • 47. fiona64  |  October 13, 2010 at 2:49 am

    This. ^^

    That said, Dubya's (heh … I have had to correct this twice from Bubba and Dudya, both of which are accurate) only plan was "I'll look like a big hero to my dad for this …"

    Secondary was "I'll make sure that my buddies in the bin Laden family get away."

    Seriously. During the whole no-fly period after 9/11, the bin Ladens were allowed to leave the country.

    Love,
    Fiona

  • 48. Sagesse  |  October 13, 2010 at 3:02 am

    @Ann S

    It is also the only organization in the US where certain restrictions on constitutional freedoms are permitted. This is why DADT repeal has to be handled so carefully. The military have ways of resisting and sabotaging this injuction that we can't even imagine.

  • 49. allen  |  October 13, 2010 at 3:11 am

    I was wondering the same. I think I'll be giving her number a call.

  • 50. Michael Ejercito  |  October 13, 2010 at 4:02 am

    Maybe those senators should have written the DADT repeal as a stand-alone bill.

    Maybe they should have kept the DREAM Act out of the same bill that was to repeal DADT.

  • 51. Ronnie  |  October 13, 2010 at 4:09 am

    Oh yes…that's real American…that's real compassionate …that's real humanity…….that's really what American Freedom stands for… support throwing other innocent people under the bus just to get ahead… N…O….NO!!!!…. ..No thank you… I actually value my integrity….The DREAM Act is necessity for Freedom & Liberty…..& the religious reich needs to get the frak over it…& stop destroying other people's lives with their selfishness…..; ) …Ronnie

  • 52. Bob  |  October 13, 2010 at 4:09 am

    Sagesse, thank your son for sharing the news, I also heard there have been vigils, on Church st. in Toronto, packed the street, and also in Vancouver, in response to the suicides.

  • 53. Sagesse  |  October 13, 2010 at 4:19 am

    Thanks Bob.

    And for all the Carl Paladinos out there, Church Street is where you go during Pride Week to 'stumble upon' a Pride Parade.

  • 54. Michael Ejercito  |  October 13, 2010 at 5:56 am

    So have the DREAM Act and the DOMA repeal on separate bills so they can be debated and decided on their own merits.

    Of course, the primary person responsible is Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. He knew that there were quite a lot of senators who do not care about the consensual sexual behaviors of servicemen, but are absolutely opposed to amnesty for illegal aliens. The inclusion of the DREAM Act lost their voted.

  • 55. Ronnie  |  October 13, 2010 at 6:02 am

    N…O…NO!!!!!…the religious reich need to stop acting like selfish children & do their fraking jobs….They are adults..they know how to read…they can debate it as is & stoping wasting time & my money….do the fraking job & start acting like adults, decent human beings, & true Americans…..& they same goes to you…selfish brat….. > ( …Ronnie

  • 56. Bennett  |  October 13, 2010 at 7:16 am

    He redacted comments that he didn't agree with (read didn't want to take the heat for). My question for him is how did you feel about the non redacted portions as they were coming out of your mouth fool?

  • 57. kf  |  October 13, 2010 at 7:33 am

    I have more free rope for you faggots. This is a hate crime because I hate crime.
    If those church goofs can said God kill the marine at his military funeral then I can commit this hate crime.

  • 58. Ronnie  |  October 13, 2010 at 7:38 am

    um…no..I say we take your IP address which is connected to your address & report you to the police for posting death threats…how would you like that…you repugnant phelps wannabe troll?…… > ( …..Ronnie

  • 59. fiona64  |  October 13, 2010 at 7:39 am

    "And they will know we are Christians by our love, by our love. They will know we are Christians by our love."

    BTW, pooky, you might want to study up about free speech and how it works. It's not a hate crime to say stupid stuff, or the government would have hauled you away before now.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Freedom_of_speech_in

    Have your mommy help you with the big words, okay? And don't forget to tidy up your room.

  • 60. fiona64  |  October 13, 2010 at 7:41 am

    Ronnie, this is doubtless some angry, pimply-faced high school boy who thinks he is proving his manhood by posting anonymously on the web. He couldn't get a date for homecoming and now he is mad. He is probably bullied, so he feels like it is okay to bully others from the safe privacy of his computer screen. It makes him feel muy macho, ya know?

    I feel sorry for him.

  • 61. fiona64  |  October 13, 2010 at 7:42 am

    I've just figured out Michael Ejercito: he's a Teabircher.

    What a sad little man.

    Love,
    Fiona

  • 62. rosebud  |  October 13, 2010 at 9:05 am

    So happy to see at least one of my Senator's signed the letter: Sen Sherrod Brown. I will be sending him a thank you letter. Also already sent a letter to the Obama administration begging them not to appeal. He says he wants to end DADT, we'll see what he really believes soon.

  • 63. rosebud  |  October 13, 2010 at 9:12 am

    The argument 'it was made by Congress, it should be ended by Congress' that so many (and it seems Obama) are taking really aggravates me. It's discrimination. I don't care how it's ended, it just needs to end.

  • 64. JonT  |  October 13, 2010 at 11:07 am

    I agree fiona.

    It is pretty sad, but is typical of their hater mentality.

    But what is odd, is that unlike his previous two comments, this one actually seems to use capitalization, and actual sentences.

    Honestly it's first post was just unintelligible nonsense.

    The second one was slightly improved, and included an anti-gay pejorative for good measure.

    This one is even more understandable. It is improving.

    Now, if it can just get past it's ignorant 11-year-old-like, prejudiced view of the universe, there might actually be a human being there someday!

    One can hope. :)

    BTW: It's one thing to post in disagreement, but at least in my opinion, the 'faggot' stuff really is worthy of a ban…

  • 65. Rhie  |  October 15, 2010 at 8:00 am

    I do agree in general. I push the sane Republicans I know and sane Christians I know to denounce the crazies that are increasingly the face of their party. I get frustrated when they blame the media, the Democrats for causing a perception problem. It's not a perception problem.

    It's an ACTUAL problem. There is actually a Religious Right that is actually as bigoted and, frankly, evil as you describe. And they are increasingly most of the party. A lot of the moderates left between 04-08.

    However, I believe that there is a difference between a group and person in that group. It's like the saying that people together are stupid but an individual person can be very smart.

    Republicans and the Right as a group are bigoted, stupid, illogical and anti-intellectual. Some Republicans are intelligent, nonbigoted, and very logical. Those are the ones that can be argued with and talked to. There are Republicans that want to change their party from within, and who DO speak out against the bigots. Meghan McCain comes to mind.

    Broad brush reactions are becoming increasingly true but still have the problems every stereotype has: They are only partially and sometimes true.

  • 66. Rhie  |  October 15, 2010 at 8:03 am

    Heh yes it is poetic justice.

    And yes, the military has far too much power. They are the unnamed fourth branch of government, in action if not in fact. And they are unregulated and not balanced with other powers.

  • 67. Rhie  |  October 15, 2010 at 8:05 am

    True. Didn't even think of that. I do think she asked officers as well but they may not have known either.

    That said, it is clear that not even the Commander in chief or the Joint Chiefs or Petraus had the foggiest idea how to get out.

  • 68. Rhie  |  October 15, 2010 at 8:22 am

    I do have problems with the "silence = approval" line in a lot of ways. The most obvious one is that it can turn into a racist accusation very easily. Like, when it's applied to Muslim groups every single time we hear of a terrorist. "Why doesn't every mosque that doesn't approve of that say so! They MUST approve if they don't!". That's all kinds of stupid, frankly.

    If something is outrageous to me, a sane person, I assume it is outrageous to any other sane person whether they say so or not. In other words, approval – in writing or words – is approval. Silence is silence. It's not confirming or denying.

    Otherwise, I'd have to wander around assuming that everyone who doesn't say so is for murder, rape, attacking people with golf clubs, adultery, hate, bigotry. That's a really sad way to live. I just assume I don't know a person's view unless they tell me.

    The only exception for this is if a person is member of a specific group that advocates something outrageous. For example, a politician who is closely associated with the Texas GOP and has affirmed that he is backed by them and is running with them should have to say he doesn't agree with making sodomy a crime or other position.

    I don't believe that applies generally to all Republicans in all states in all districts.

  • 69. Rhie  |  October 15, 2010 at 8:25 am

    In other words, he is another privileged person telling the minority to educate him. Of course, if anyone were to try he would just tell them their tone was wrong or say something else to excuse him from actually listening.

    He's a big boy. He knows how to use a library and search in Google. He knows how to ask questions of people. It's on him.

  • 70. Rhie  |  October 15, 2010 at 8:35 am

    Agreed. And the DREAM act wasn't the problem anyway. Republicans are stuck on being their usual obstructionist selves because of DADT.

  • 71. Rhie  |  October 15, 2010 at 8:43 am

    The argument is actually that it has to be ended by Congress or the SCOTUS. That is the only way federal law can be considered completely null and void. A lower court, even a lower federal court, can't do that.

  • 72. Jonathan H  |  October 15, 2010 at 10:08 am

    The idea that silence implies approval is, at its heart, a form of prejudice. That's not necessarily bad, but you have to be careful about it. In this case it's totally justified.
    The official party platforms are crazy. We had a governor of Louisiana, a state that gets hit by hurricanes almost every year, speak disparagingly about federal money for volcano monitoring, for crying out loud!

    Yes, in general I'm willing to assume that people aren't crazy, but these days when it comes to Republicans the burden of proof is on them. This is no longer fringe elements, this is what the party stands for now.

  • 73. Rhie  |  October 15, 2010 at 10:41 am

    I agree that the fringe element that was shunned and ridiculed by the main Republican party is now running it. And, I agree that Republicans running for national office need to be more vocal in what they think, no matter if it is Teabagger approved or not.

    However, that doesn't seem to translate to the average American. There are many Republicans, especially over the age of around 45, that don't realize or don't want to realize the party of Reagan is no more. They still think the Republicans stand for what they stood for 30 years ago. They still believe that Christine O'Donnell et al are the fringe.

    Yes, that's a problem, but one that needs to be addressed person to person. They don't believe there is anything TO denounce, so we need to show that there is. Believe me, once they are shown they do denounce it.

    I also have a somewhat personal reason for being patient. Not too long ago I was one of those Republicans. I had very patient friends who explained the real facts, the real numbers and pointed me toward real sources. It took two years for me to turn around, but considering they were working against 20 years of indoctrination that's pretty good.

    My Mom says she is a Tea Party member and supports their stance. However, when questioned on specifics, like gay rights, her stance is pro-equality, not pro-tea party.

    The battle for hearts and minds is won person to person not party to party.

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