Friday, October 9, 2009

Obama May Announce 2010 Push for DADT Repeal and Address Maine's Marriage Battle in HRC Speech

UPDATE 4:29 pm PST: It appears in an update to Kerry Eleveld's piece in the Advocate that she too has been told that Obama plans to discuss the coming weeks and months. But she's heard he'll address the hate crimes bill as well.

A reliable source who wishes to remain anonymous gave me a tip about the content of Obama's speech at the HRC dinner tomorrow night.
  1. Obama will announce a push to repeal Don't Ask Don't Tell in 2010.
  2. Obama intends to say something about the Maine marriage equality battle.
  3. The newly appointed openly gay ambassador-designate to New Zealand, David Huebner, will be in attendance.
No word of any mention of the Matthew Shepherd Act or ENDA.

At first glance, this may not seem to have a "wow factor", but if you think it over, it could have far-reaching consequences.

First, the importance of the speech itself lies in the fact that Obama is only the second president to address a major LGBT organization after Clinton, who spoke at an HRC dinner in 1997.

Second, to announce he supports a repeal of DADT in 2010 will be the first definitive time-line given by the president and his administration on his DADT campaign promise since he took office. It will also give the LGBT population a benchmark to keep him accountable by.

Third, if Obama clearly states that he is against discrimination of LGBT citizens, promotes equality and denounces the actions of the Yes on 1 campaign in Maine to strip gays and lesbians of their right to marry, not only will this have a major impact on voters, but it will be a killer soundbite for the NO on 1 campaign to use in tv and radio ads. (A game piece that unfortunately, the No on Prop 8 campaign failed to use last year while the Yes hacks used Obama's stance against marriage equality to manipulate voters.)

An article released today by the Washington Post claims that the speech will mainly focus on incremental advancements as progress. However, one can hope that the White House is listening to the loud criticism from the LGBT population who say, "We've heard that before. What else you got?"

Now it remains to be seen if these bullet points make it into the speech. You can find out by watching the speech live on C-Span tomorrow night at 7:55pm EST.


  1. This is very encouraging news! I would hope that a Nobel Prize winner has the courage to make good on a stated commitment to equality. If ever there was a time to be a fierce advocate, it is today.

  2. Oh, this is fine news. If only, as you note, for the vid/sound bites we will score.
    Especially if he comes out for MAINE! Oh, that would really mean something.

    ...and how about the news today that over 50% people kicked out for DADT are women, who make up only 20% of the forces...and the Air Force are the biggest bigots! No news there I guess.

  3. I would suspect that the women are kicked out because they turn down the puerile advances of some men, then these spurned men find out they're gay and get them discharged. Unfortunately, sexism still reigns supreme and lesbians face not only this hurdle, but being gay while trying to serve their country as well.