It's Looking Grim For "Don't Ask Don't Tell" Repeal

Defense Secretary Robert Gates recently said, "I would like to see the repeal of 'don't ask, don't tell,' but I'm not sure what the prospects for that are and we'll just have to see." That's an understatement.

First, there's his own subordinate, the new commandant of the Marines, James Amos. He made his own statement to reporters Saturday, saying he thought it was too soon to lift the policy while the U.S. fights two wars. ""There's risk involved," he said. "I'm trying to determine how to measure that risk. This is not a social thing. This is combat effectiveness."

A social thing? He's right. This is not about whether the gays can have rainbow-themed, Speedo-wearing mixers on the base. It's a rights thing. Or a legally-codified discrimination thing, whatever.

Let's remember that in May, 70 percent of Americans told Gallup they were in favor of letting gays and lesbians serve openly. And that a majority of servicemembers themselves said, when surveyed the Pentagon, that they also didn't care. And that the president vowed to end it this year.

But a story in The Wall Street Journal flatly announces in its opening paragraph that a repeal "appears all but lost for the foreseeable future, with action unlikely this year and even less likely once Republicans take charge of the House in January." That's because Senators John McCain and Carl Levin (et tu, Carl?), respectively the top Republican and Democrat on the Senate Armed Services, are stripping the DADT repeal language from the defense spending bill, crushing hopes that it would pass in the lame duck session.

Unless something unforeseen happens in Congress, any ray of hope will come from the courts, despite Obama's massive reluctance to go that route. The Log Cabin Republicans asked the Supreme Court Friday to reinstate the injunction while the Ninth Circuit hears its case, saying in its filing that the only harm would be "entirely bureaucratic, procedural and transitory in nature," and is "sharply outweighed by the substantial constitutional injury that service members will sustain" if Don't Ask Don't Tell continues.

Bureaucratic, procedural, and transitory — those words could apply to this entire process.

'Don't ask' Should Stay For Now, New Marine Commandant Says [LAT]
Drive to Repeal 'Don't Ask' Policy All but Lost for Now [WSJ]
Gates Wants 'Don't Ask' Repeal [Politico]
Group Asks High Court To Lift 'Don't Ask' Ban [WP]