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Pressure builds for executive order on non-discrimination in military

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Yesterday, as we reported, SLDN asked President Obama "to issue an Executive Order prohibiting discrimination in the armed services based on sexual orientation and gender identity to be effective on the date of repeal of 'Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell'." The non-discrimination language was included in the original legislation, but was stripped out last May as part of a compromise crafted by the White House. We've never seen an explanation of why that language was removed. But, it's a problem.

Ed O'Keefe at the Washington Post picks up the issue:

But the lack of a presidential order means gay troops would have fewer legal protections than their civilian colleagues, according to Richard Soccarides, a former gay rights adviser to Bill Clinton and director of Equality Matters.

"If you work at the Agriculture Department as a clerk, you have better protections than somebody in the military," Soccarides said in an interview. "They ought to be the same."

"This last final step is not a small matter," he added. "It's crucial that gay military personnel have legally enforceable protections which are lasting over time and no matter who is president and no matter who is in charge of the Pentagon."
And, of course, HRC is also there to take a swipe at DADT activists and to defend the actions of the administration :
"This is going to be a continual process over years of kind of changing the mentality," said Fred Sainz, vice president of the Human Rights Campaign, another group that pushed for repeal. "I think that as frustrating as it is for many, we got as good as we were going to get, and people who are realistic about these things understand that. Over the course of the next few years, we'll work on this cycle of continuous improvement."
Apparently, HRC speaks for the "realistic people." How condescending. HRC is supposed to be an advocacy group. They're supposed to push for more. But, this sounds familiar. Remember how we were told, "they have a plan"? Well, they didn't. It took a lot of pressure and activism to get results. And, it will again.

Maybe if HRC and CAP's Winnie Stachelberg (she'd also qualify as one of those "realistic" people) didn't just accept everything Jim Messina told them, we could have gotten better. But, the compromise concocted by Messina basically insures that Obama will remain the key figure in the ongoing debate over non-discrimination. Great work by Messina. He created a political issue that he'll have to deal with as campaign manager for the reelection.

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