Gates Advises Against Immediate DADT Repeal, Dan Choi Isn’t Impressed



The flurry of activism of all shapes, sizes and colors surrounding DADT might have gotten your hopes up that legislators and military officials are feeling the pressure, and that maybe the nebulous timeline surrounding its appeal (or even the process of looking into its potential appeal) might speed up a little. Well, Defense Secretary Robert Gates wants you to settle down right now with all that optimism: he says the plan to review and research before making a decision on DADT is unchanged.

“…his letter to members of Congress Friday immediately angered gay rights advocates who fear the administration isn’t moving fast enough to repeal the ban on gays and lesbians serving openly in the military… “Our military must be afforded the opportunity to inform us of their concerns, insights and suggestions if we are to carry out this change successfully,” Gates and Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, wrote…”

There are a few things going on here. One the one hand, there’s nothing wrong with letting people share their “concerns, insights, and suggestions;” for instance, I have many concerns and suggestions re: Robert Gates that I wish someone would let me share with him. On the other hand, given the recent demonstrations and agitation by gay veterans, it’s really hard to read this as anything other than a direct rebuttal – telling Lt. Dan Choi and others to simmer down because the feelings of straight service members are more important. And ultimately, much as we all love sharing feelings, is it really necessary or even ethical to make this decision on a straw poll of how other people feel about it? When it comes to issues of equal rights for minorities, referendums are just inherently unfair. Maine proved that; Prop 8 proved that. Why is this a thing we’re doing? Someone explain this to me? (@csmonitor)

In the meantime, Nancy Pelosi has suggested a remarkable thing: that until this gets sorted out, we stop discharging GLBT servicemembers. How crazy!

“We all look forward to the report on the review of the ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ policy by the Defense Department,” Pelosi said Friday evening in a statement. “In the meantime, the Administration should immediately place a moratorium on dismissals under this policy until the review has been completed and Congress has acted.” (@thehill)

And the obvious question, of course, is where Obama stands. Kind of unsurprisingly, he doesn’t give us a lot to work with one way or another. I feel like the main vibe I’m getting from him is “exasperated.” In an exclusive with the Advocate, the White House has said

“The President’s commitment to repealing “don’t ask, don’t tell” is unequivocal. This is not a question of if, but how. That’s why we’ve said that the implementation of any congressional repeal will be delayed until the DOD study of how best to implement that repeal is completed. The President is committed to getting this done both soon and right.”


All this occurs in the context of the huge DADT protest in Washington yesterday, attended by Dan Choi and GetEQUAL protesters, in which six more people were arrested after chaining themselves to the White House fence. (Choi was not among them, having abided by his order to stay away from the property.)

Howard Dean made a surprise appearance!

More coverage of the protest available at Pam’s House Blend, Queerty, and Joe My God.

Last but not least, our friends at Wingspan Pictures made this Don’t Ask Don’t Tell testimonial video lest we forget what this debate is actually about – the fact that there are people who are putting their lives on the line for all of us, and the country they protect doesn’t even want to know about their families:



A draft of an immigration reform bill floating around Congress right now would allow GLBT people to sponsor their same-sex partners for residency. “On page 22 of the 26-page document, which could serve as a blueprint for the legislation, the proposal states, “It will eliminate discrimination in the immigration laws by permitting permanent partners of United States citizens and lawful permanent residents to obtain lawful permanent resident status.” (@theadvocate)


Our boys done good! David Boies and Ted Olson of Prop 8 trial fame have been included in the TIME Magazine Top 100 list, along with such luminaries as Lady Gaga. (@thebilericoproject)


It appears that administrators at the Catholic school where Lisa Reimer teaches have always known she was gay, but it was only after parents complained that they fired her for violating the “values” that the school upholds. (@vancouversun)

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Originally from Boston, MA, Rachel now lives in the Midwest. Topics dear to her heart include bisexuality, The X-Files and tacos. Her favorite Ciara video is probably "Ride," but if you're only going to watch one, she recommends "Like A Boy." You can follow her on twitter and instagram.

Rachel has written 1142 articles for us.


  1. That news on the immigration reform bill is encouraging. I am stealing and reposting the Jane Doe video. Fucking heartbreaking.

  2. I work with a lot of military personnel and only rarely does anyone seem to care about whether their coworkers are gay or not. If anything, many of them seem to know other gay servicemembers, but are afraid to say anything (affirming or otherwise) because of DADT. I think something that people forget is that a lot of people in the military signed up when they were barely out of high school (or earlier) and may not have known they were gay. If your goal in life was to be a lifetime member of the military, how shitty is it to not only realize you are gay (and therefore going against the rules-for sure pre 1996, sorta since 1996), but then have to worry about the future of your job? I think the higher level of the military need to think about this shit a little harder!

  3. Was there supposed to be something about civil unions in Hawaii and bad news for Constance? Or am I blind and just not seeing it?

    • whoops! I deleted those ’cause we mentioned both of those stories on friday already, but forgot to change the excerpt.

  4. I appreciate Pelosi’s suggestions, but I don’t think people will be in the military waving rainbow flags, you know? Because they could always be discharged later, since shit is nowhere near settled. It’s still a nice suggestion, though.

    About this immigration, let me get this straight… So now, we’re trying to make it so that being in a relationship, same-sex or not, can be used for grounds to let an immigrant stay in the country. So… this union obviously doesn’t need to be marriage, right? Because in the world that doesn’t consist of our pretend marriages to our “wives”, we can’t actually be married to whomever we want. So if they’re letting same-sex partners vouch for immigrants, it must just be on committed relationships sans wedding bands, right? I’m not against that at all, obviously, I just feel like this country can be so backwards and self-contradictory sometimes. They only want us to be gay when they can use it for something.


      ALSO ABOUT THE IMIGRATION THING, yeah that is an issue I feel like the hospital visitation thing, like if they give us these rights then it won’t be as tragic that we’re not getting the other rights that we need, you know? also it probs sucks that our gays keep moving to canada where they can marry their girlfriends.

      • apparently if all the gays and lesbians in the united states moved to canada, the population of canada would be 50% homo, approximately. i read it in a book that means it’s true right.

    • OMG, excellent point (both you and Riese on hospital visitation). I just accidentally licked that crumb up and didn’t give it a second thought.

      Unrelated, someone kept referring to the tomboy as my GF the other day, and I kept jumping up and down and waving my hands around, barking “WIFE! She’s my WIFE!” It made me feel like a pesky toddler (“I’m not three, I’m four! I’m a big girl! FOUR, BITCHES!”). Boo.

  5. i love everything about autostraddle, but your headline here is totally misleading. gates isn’t dragging his feet on DADT repeal because he is against a repeal- he’s very methodically “reviewing the policy” so that when he does stand up (probably in 2013, when Obama is safely re-elected) and recommend repeal, it will be based on a solid internal report that congressional wussies will be unable to refute. the problem is not the military here – a majority of people in the military either don’t care or think dadt should be repealed – the problem is spineless congressmen/women who wont vote for a repeal unless the military gives them the political cover to do so.

    i’m joining the military in a few months, so this is a really personal issue for me. i really wish DADT would be repealed by then so i could be open about who i am, but i’d rather the repeal happens methodically and in a way that leaves congressional leaders no choice but to vote for its repeal so that the issue is laid to rest once and for all. we don’t need 50 years of social warfare on this issue.

  6. This LGBTQ in school thing always rubs me the wrong way. It’s interesting to me because I’ll be joining Teach For America in the fall in Kansas City and I just made the executive decision to be actively involved in GLSEN there as well.

    I was also very explicit in my TFA interview that I was queer and would not be going back in the closet about that. This mentality that somehow queer life cannot mix with education or mold the minds of young children or even build good character within them just blows my mind.

    As far as this immigration thing goes, DemiArianna is right. The U.S. is ass backwards in a lot of its practices. When it comes to immigration I’ve learned two thingsg and that’s that a lot of people will do anything a) get cheap labor while b) never bringing immigrant up to the status quo of the American dream. This can be added to my life, “1,000 Reasons Why I’m Black, Angry, and Moving to Scotland!”

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