Post-signing ceremony coverage on “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” repeal

December 22, 2010 at 2:16 pm 35 comments








photo courtesy of Joe Mirabella

By Adam Bink

Some random thoughts and interesting tidbits:

  • As I wrote in this morning’s thread, Courage chair and founder Rick Jacobs flew in this morning, arriving at 5 AM, and planning on getting back on a plane at 12:30. Talk about “I wouldn’t miss it for the world”. After successfully recalling which of the eateries I like here in town were actually open at 6 AM, we had a fun breakfast and then headed down to the Department of the Interior, where the ceremony was being held. We saw old, current, and new friends alike from all walks of life in the LGBT movement. It was like a family reunion. As I wrote this afternoon, even folks who I know don’t like each other were being cordial, back-slapping and wishing congrats on each other. It was so much fun I jokingly asked more than one friend on the way out when the next time we should do this will be. There really is nothing like watching pen being put to paper, knowing the law would be changed, and knowing you had a hand in it. You should all be proud.

Here’s a quick shot of Rick and I in front of where the President would speak:











  • Probably my favorite moment afterwards was seeing Rep. Patrick Murphy and him exchanging hugs with both Rick and I. He told us “guys, we couldn’t have done it without you and Courage.” I believe that’s true on both ends, Patrick. What a champion. Also, give yourselves another pat on the back. The system worked, and we made it work.
    • Rick and I both had the opportunity to speak to several members of Congress afterwards about this ‘n that. I was happy to note that a lot of members are interested in helping work to end another form of discrimination. I’ve been spending a fair amount of time working to repeal the ban on blood donations from gay men (technically, men who have sex with men, or MSM). As you may be aware, sexually active gay men are banned from donating blood by an outdated policy. Over the summer, an HHS advisory committee set into motion a search for a more optimal policy that both increases blood safety (by screening for risks they should be screening for now among heterosexual donors) and supply (by allowing low-risk MSM to donate). For more background, see here and here. The regulatory process has been very slow-going, but after taking aside several of our pro-equality members of Congress, I was happy to see how much enthusiasm there is for being champions on this issue. And this is less something that needs legislative action than something that could use internal champions to help it move. I’m very excited, and telling you about all this because it’s an opportunity we have to repeal ANOTHER ban- and one that may be easier to do. More on this in the new year.
    • Full video, including Vice President Biden’s speech.
    • Ah, it’s as if President Obama got the e-mail we at Courage Campiagn sent out, natch, urging members to help make sure certification is done quickly.

    Our e-mail (bolding mine):

    Here’s the skinny: the Senate vote was the last major legislative obstacle. Now the bill will head to President Obama’s desk for his signature. But even after the President signs this law, no one can serve openly. Certification is first required from the President, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, and Secretary of Defense

    It’s part of a backroom deal cut months ago, and it’s ridiculous. We’ve seen how the Administration has dragged their feet over the past two years on “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”. We can’t let that happen again. We have to mount a fight to finish the job, and we need your help.

    Can you contribute $17 to show the Administration that we’re not going to stand for any more foot-dragging?

    The President today (bolding mine):

    Because of these efforts, in the coming days we will begin the process laid out by this law.  Now, the old policy remains in effect until Secretary Gates, Admiral Mullen and I certify the military’s readiness to implement the repeal.  And it’s especially important for service members to remember that.  But I have spoken to every one of the service chiefs and they are all committed to implementing this change swiftly and efficiently.  We are not going to be dragging our feet to get this done.

    That’s an excellent promise to see him make. We’ll hold you to that, Mr. President.

    • My favorite line in the entire speech was “We are not a nation that says ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’. We are a nation that says, ‘Out of many, we are one.'”
    • A list of legislators, military leaders and other folks who were present today. Was your member on the list? Also, as ever, Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee was the best dressed member of Congress in the room.
    • Joe Manchin is sorry for missing the vote on DADT repeal and the DREAM Act to go to a Christmas party. Whatever, Joe.
    • Good for Sen. Reid. Dan Choi got his ring back today. For those who don’t know the story, it’s here. I was in the room in Vegas when this happened and it really was something.

    That’s all I’ve got. If you’ve got more fun stuff to add, hit it up in the comments.

    A good day, a fine day. One more step towards equality in America.


    Entry filed under: Don't Ask Don't Tell.

    Sometimes, the system does work Golden Oldies open thread, December 22nd

    35 Comments Add your own

    • 1. Lesbians Love Boies  |  December 22, 2010 at 2:18 pm

      scribin and reading

      • 2. Ann S.  |  December 22, 2010 at 2:25 pm


        • 3. Sagesse  |  December 22, 2010 at 2:26 pm

          Sub-sub-scribin. A fine day, indeed.

          • 4. JonT  |  December 22, 2010 at 2:29 pm

            • 5. Straight For Equality  |  December 22, 2010 at 2:38 pm

          • 6. Kathleen  |  December 22, 2010 at 3:03 pm

            Trying to subscribe again.

            • 7. Straight For Equality  |  December 22, 2010 at 3:17 pm

              Me too. I got an error before.

    • 8. Ronnie  |  December 22, 2010 at 2:26 pm

      “Joe Manchin is sorry for missing the vote on DADT repeal and the DREAM Act to go to a Christmas party. Whatever, Joe.”

      Scrooge is saying…”Now that wasn’t very nice Joe”…… XP …..Ronnie

      • 9. Ronnie  |  December 22, 2010 at 2:30 pm

        & subscribe…..<3…Ronnie

      • 10. Carpool Cookie  |  December 22, 2010 at 10:58 pm

        ““Joe Manchin is sorry for missing the vote on DADT repeal and the DREAM Act to go to a Christmas party.”

        Officially THE most pathetic excuse I have heard for ANYTHING…(aside from my friend’s second husband, who was late to their wedding because his washing machine broke and he had to fix it with a friend.)

        But at least his friends know what to get him for Christmas now. Apparently Joe Manchin’s craaaaazy for free eggnog!

    • 11. Richard A. Jernigan  |  December 22, 2010 at 2:37 pm

      Where was Kay Hagan from North Carolina? She was one of the co-sponsors of the repeal, so I would have been virtually certain she would have shown up!

    • 12. Ronnie  |  December 22, 2010 at 2:45 pm

      Viideo of Senator Reid returning Lt. Dan Choi’s West Point ring to the rings rightful owner, Lt. Dan Choi……<3….Ronnie:

      • 13. Kathleen  |  December 22, 2010 at 2:54 pm

        This brought up a tear… or two.

      • 14. celdd  |  December 22, 2010 at 3:18 pm

        Appreciate the video. Very moving.

        By the way, that’s Autumn Sandeen, a barista at Pam’s House Blend on his right when interviewed at the end.

    • 15. Lesbians Love Boies  |  December 22, 2010 at 4:15 pm

      I want to know HOW it devalues your marriage Gentry Collins – you can say it does – but HOW?

      You don’t have an answer do you? You can only make the statement with no backup – because really it does nothing to your marriage.

      If you could tell me how it devalues it then we could have a real conversation.

      RNC candidates make social pledges

      Some of the top-tier candidates seeking the chairmanship of the Republican National Committee have made their pitches to the anti-abortion Susan B. Anthony List in hopes of convincing social conservatives of their beliefs.

      Wisconsin Republican Chairman Reince Priebus, Michigan National Committeeman Saul Anuzis and former RNC political director Gentry Collins each sat for interviews via skype with SBA List President Marjorie Dannenfelser and National Organization for Marriage Chairwoman Maggie Gallagher.

      The three candidates are contending in a wide-open race to lead the RNC. Former Missouri GOP Chairwoman Ann Wagner, Republican operative Maria Cino and the current chairman, Michael Steele, are all also running for the job. Wagner is scheduled to do a SBA List interview on Thursday, a spokesman said.

      The RNC race has focused almost exclusively on fundraising, as each candidate has contended Steele has failed to court major donors.

      But in an effort to ensure that the next chairman is committed to social issues, the presidents of the two groups pressed the candidates on abortion and marriage in the interviews, posted online Wednesday.

      The interviews were part of an effort from SBA List, which is also co-hosting a Jan. 3 RNC debate, to ensure that the next Republican national chairman is “committed to articulating and putting resources behind the pro-life message,” Dannenfelser told POLITICO.

      “In the midterm election results, the strength of the pro-life grass-roots movement was clear with 80 out of the 87 new Republican House members being pro-life,” Dannenfelser said. “There is a growing sense among Americans, both in public opinion and at the ballot box, that they want leaders who will defend unborn children and end taxpayer funding of abortion, especially when the president is moving in the opposite direction.”

      Each of the three candidates also affirmed their belief in protecting traditional marriage.

      Collins took an especially strong stance against gay marriage, saying that it “devalues the relationship that is shared by my wife and I and a number of committed married couples.”

      In his response, Anuzis said the marriage issue was fundamental to the function of American society.

      “Marriage is an institution that has been around for 3,000 years. It’s part of our faith. It’s part of our culture,” he said. “It’s important to have a mother and a father…People care that you’re a family person.”

      Full Story:

      • 16. Richard A. Jernigan  |  December 22, 2010 at 4:19 pm

        Also, can someone tell me just how in the hell you are unable to be a family person unless you are heterosexual? That is like saying you can’t be a family person unless you are a White Anglo-Saxon Protestant! It is no wonder the GOP is known as the Party of NO. They are–the party of NO BRAINS!

        • 17. Lesbians Love Boies  |  December 22, 2010 at 4:25 pm

          I don’t know Richard. The more people are educated (including myself) the more idiotic these people look/sound/are.

          What is the most interesting is that here in Arizona people taking notice. Just two years ago, on the comments section on our local online newspaper, you would get thumbed down if you said you were gay. Today you get thumbs up’d and by those who used to be the staunchest anti-gay group. They engaged in the conversation with us LGBT and now would be the first to stomp on anyone anti-gay talking down to us.

          It’s a great feeling to see them change and grow.

          • 18. Richard A. Jernigan  |  December 22, 2010 at 6:06 pm

            That is a very great feeling. And seeing that change in those who used to be so staunchly anti-LGBT gives me hope that there will soon be a time where all LGBT can live our lives openly and with our full integrity and honesty, without fear.

        • 19. Ray in MA  |  December 22, 2010 at 4:26 pm

          Very well said Richard.

    • 20. Lesbians Love Boies  |  December 22, 2010 at 4:34 pm

      I love the sentiment of the Ham. I also wish I could have met Nannie!

      The practicality of ham

      Back in the 1990s there was a “dust up” at my grandmother’s church. Actually, there were two — one over placement of a coin-operated Coca-Cola machine in the church’s basement and the other over an interim minister who was openly gay. As I recall Nannie’s version of events, one of the “dust ups” came down to a vote on whether the minister, also a lesbian, should stay or go. Nannie, who had at that time been a member of her church for over 40 years, declined voting because regardless of what she did or didn’t understand about homosexuals, she said she didn’t have the right to judge them.

      No longer with us, Nannie went on to her reward six years ago after starting her life in a hollow she described as “out back of West Columbia.” She grew up during the Great Depression and in 1936 she graduated from Wahama High School wearing a dress made from a feedsack. All of these circumstances from her early life instilled in her a practicality which served her well. There’s nothing practical about discrimination. If discrimination were practical, I wouldn’t have the right to vote as a woman and African-Americans would still be sitting at the back of the bus.

      My Nannie had a common sense approach to practicality. For example, when somebody died, she didn’t send flowers which were already dying by the time they reached their destination — she sent ham. A good Tavern ham would feed a lot of people and it was something people could use. Last week, Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown gave a speech on the senate floor about the need for legislation to outlaw discrimination of students in public schools based on sexual orientation or gender identity. If you think those students don’t need this protection, think about what civil protections you don’t need that simply protect your right to be you. Think about what is practical and what is of use to people in this life — ham and deferring judgment being two examples.

      In his speech, Brown also made reference to the suicides of gay teens which have been publicized in the media as of late; teens who were allegedly bullied for being gay. Had my Nannie known any of the families of these teens, I have no doubt they would’ve received a Tavern ham just like anyone else — death and grief being the great equalizer for gay and straight alike. In short, Nannie would’ve sent something a family can use in a time when they have everything but what they need, namely, their loved one.


      • 21. Marlene  |  December 22, 2010 at 5:53 pm

        Sherrod Brown’s my senator, and I’m damn proud he is, too!

        I’ve been privelaged to meet him and his wife four years ago when he made a campaign stop/ photo op here in Bowling Green at our county party HQ.

        He wanted a cup of coffee, and when he was reaching for a cup I actually slapped his hand away and said he was going to be our next senator, so he’d better get used to having things done for him!

        In January, he’ll be our senior senator, what with George Voinovich retiring. Sadly, he won’t be replaced with a Democrat, but the rabidly conservative Rob Portman. Gods and goddesses help us.

    • 22. Matthew  |  December 22, 2010 at 5:50 pm

      Anybody else see those videos from Barney frank? He was kicking ass today. ‘two down. Two to go!’. Hellz yeah!

      • 23. Ray in MA  |  December 22, 2010 at 5:59 pm


        • 24. Ray in MA  |  December 22, 2010 at 6:02 pm

          Showering with a Homosexual?!?!?

          Well! “We don’t get ourselves Dry Cleaned!”


          • 25. Richard A. Jernigan  |  December 22, 2010 at 6:13 pm

            Of course we don’t get ourselves dry cleaned. Dry cleaning is for clothing, just like closets! You go, Barney!

        • 26. Ray in MA  |  December 22, 2010 at 6:06 pm

          And if you liked that, you’ll like this:

          • 27. Ray in MA  |  December 22, 2010 at 6:14 pm

            and Barney on ENDA in 2 0 0 7:

          • 28. Ray in MA  |  December 22, 2010 at 6:16 pm

            and Barney goes on and on: (thank God someone is!)

            • 29. Ray in MA  |  December 22, 2010 at 6:18 pm

              oops, that was supposed to be a different link!… search YouTube for Barney Frank… many, many amazing speeches and duscussions.

          • 30. Richard A. Jernigan  |  December 22, 2010 at 6:18 pm

            Who was the bespectacled idiot in the blow-dried coiffure at the other end away from Barney who caused my gaydar to start screaming? Is it just me, or is he so full of himself that he makes Tony Perkins jealous?

        • 31. John  |  December 22, 2010 at 7:07 pm

          No wonder the right wing hates him. He made a point, supported it with logic, and then asked the right-wing nut reporter to state his beliefs so that people could judge between the two differing views.

          I can see why the right wing wouldn’t like that.

    • 32. Rhie  |  December 22, 2010 at 10:11 pm


    • 33. Gregory in Salt Lake City  |  December 23, 2010 at 5:09 am

      Looking forward to seeing progress in this! Thank you Adam!

      “I’ve been spending a fair amount of time working to repeal the ban on blood donations from gay men (technically, men who have sex with men, or MSM). As you may be aware, sexually active gay men are banned from donating blood by an outdated policy.”

    • 34. Aaron in SF  |  December 23, 2010 at 7:09 am

      Any chance Obama can fire/demote the Marine Commander? He’s not going to effectively implement the new law – he’s been very public of his opposition to it. Anybody know?

    • 35. questiontroll  |  December 23, 2010 at 7:17 pm

      Nice, just covered this on my blog too. Hope all of the promises made are kept. This is a great breakthrough for gay rights, though.


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