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Frank Expects DADT Repeal In Next Year’s Defense Bill

Just days after an LGBT fundraising boycott of the DNC and the White House over their reticence on gay rights issues, Barney Frank tells the Advocate that repeal of the military’s don’t ask don’t tell policy could come up in Congress by the spring:

Repealing “don’t ask, don’t tell” will likely be included as part of next year’s Department of Defense authorization bill in both chambers of Congress, Congressman Barney Frank, a Massachusetts Democrat, said Wednesday.

“Military issues are always done as part of the overall authorization bill,” Frank said, insisting that this has been the strategy for overturning the policy all along. “’Don’t ask, don’t tell’ was always going to be part of the military authorization.”

Frank said he has been in direct communication with the White House, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office, and other congressional leaders about the strategy for ending the 1993 ban on gays serving openly in the military.

The timing of this clearly looks like an effort to tamp down the frustration in the LGBT community right when it moves toward a boycott.

Frank repeatedly claimed that the White House’s resolve on this matter has not wavered, and that the Administration remains committed to repeal.

AmericaBlog, the initiators of the boycott, responded to the story, saying that it falls short:

Nowhere in the story does the White House say the same thing about a possible repeal coming next spring.

We’ve always known that there was talk for a while now about Don’t Ask Don’t Tell repeal coming up next spring. But it’s never been nailed down, it’s simply been “talk.” And even Barney Frank’s new statement uses the word “likely,” and a Washington Blade story is even less definitive, saying simply “may.” (And I “may” strike it rich next year, stay tuned.) That means the White House still hasn’t decided. Which has been our point all along – the White House has no firm plan, no firm strategy, for moving ahead on the President’s promises, as they haven’t even decided yet whether they plan to do it at all.

Stay tuned to see if anyone in the White House backs up Frank’s statement.

The American Medical Association endorsed the repeal of DADT at their annual conference yesterday. They also stated that “gay marriage bans contribute to health disparities for gay couples and their children.”

UPDATE: The White House would only echo the statement already in the story:

A White House spokesperson was less forthcoming about the strategy for repeal, saying only, “The Administration is working with Congress to achieve a legislative repeal of ‘don’t ask, don’t tell.’”

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David Dayen

David Dayen