December 2010 Archives

Six months ago today, as the hearings for the nomination of then-Solicitor General Elena Kagan to the Supreme Court got under way, my editors and I launched Poliglot. The political blog of Metro Weekly, the space was intended to serve -- as its tag line attests -- as "a queer spin on politics." The title -- though an invention of ... [Read]

In President Barack Obama's "end of the year" news conference, he opened by discussing the successes of the lame-duck session of Congress. In part, he mentioned the Don't Ask, Don't Tell Repeal Act of 2010 signing: In our ongoing struggle to perfect our union, we also overturned a 17-year-old law and a longstanding injustice by finally ending “don’t ask, don’t ... [Read]

At a little past 9 a.m. today, Dec. 22, President Barack Obama signed the Don't Ask, Don't Tell Repeal Act of 2010 into law in a ceremony full of pomp and circumstance but also full of significance and sentiment. [ADDITIONAL COVERAGE: Read Metro Weekly's report on Tuesday's enrollment ceremony and analysis of the Dec. 18 Senate vote.] Saying that he ... [Read]

[Photo: The audience and members of the media -- as well as a set of pens -- await the arrival of Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who signed the Don't Ask, Don't Tell Repeal Act of 2010 on Tuesday, Dec. 21. President Barack Obama is to sign the bill into law on Wednesday, Dec. 22. (Photo by Chris Geidner.)] In the Capitol ... [Read]

[Photo: President Barack Obama makes Congressional calls from the Oval Office on Dec. 18 before the final Senate vote repealing the ban on gay men and women serving openly in the military. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza.)] Today at the White House briefing, White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said that President Barack Obama "likely" will sign the "Don't ... [Read]

[Photo: Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) speaks to reporters after the successful cloture vote on the bill to repeal "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" on Dec. 18. With him, from left, are Sen. Mark Udall (D-Colo.), Center for American Progress senior vice president Winnie Stachelberg, Sen. Joseph Lieberman (I-Conn.), former Air Force Major Mike Almy, Servicemembers Legal Defense Network ... [Read]

[Photo: Mike Almy speaks at a news conference follow the successful cloture vote on the bill to repeal "Don't Ask, Don't Tell. (Photo by Chris Geidner.)] On a 65-31 vote for final passage, the stand-alone "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" repeal bill that became a part of the repeal strategy less than two weeks ago will be heading to President ... [Read]

Saying that they had been "focused" on the vote, a senior White House aide intimately familiar with the administration's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" repeal efforts was unwilling to say whether President Obama agrees with Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and Senate Armed Services Committee chairman Carl Levin (D-Mich.) that DADT-releated investigations and discharges should be halted immediately. The aide made ... [Read]

On a 63-33 vote, and with six Republicans voting "yes," the U.S. Senate -- at a little before noon today -- voted for cloture on the stand-alone bill aimed at repealing the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" law, overcoming the largest hurdle remaining for repeal of the 1993 law banning openly gay, lesbian and bisexual military service. The House approved the ... [Read]

Today Is DADT (Repeal) Day

Posted by Chris Geidner
December 18, 2010 9:45 AM |
[Photo: Former Air Force Major Margaret Witt (left), Washington National Guard Col. Margarethe Cammermeyer (Ret.) and Air Force Lt. Col. Victor Fehrenbach in March 2010 at the annual dinner held by Servicemembers Legal Defense Network. (Photo by Chris Geidner.)] As senators speak on the floor of the U.S. Senate, the stand-alone "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" repeal bill is looking ... [Read]

[Photo: Sen. Joseph Lieberman (I-Conn.) speaks about the effort to repeal "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" at a news conference on Friday, Dec. 17. Standing behind him at Servicemembers Legal Defense Network executive director Aubrey Sarvis; Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.); Rep. Patrick Murphy (D-Pa.); and servicemembers discharged under DADT, Anthony Woods and Mike Almy. (Photo by Chris Geidner.)] Today, Servicemembers Legal ... [Read]

"I'm going to file cloture on it tonight." With those words, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) announced that there will be a cloture vote on the stand-alone "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" repeal bill. And, in what had been the topic of debate all Thursday, Reid has apparently taken the path urged by Sen. Joseph Lieberman (I-Conn.) and repeal advocates ... [Read]

President Barack Obama issued a statement this evening supporting the House vote to repeal "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" today, saying, "I applaud the House for passing, with bipartisan support, the Don't Ask, Don't Tell Repeal Act of 2010." In it, he added a subtle dig at criticism regarding aspects of repeal from some of the service chiefs, most notably comments ... [Read]

BREAKING: House Passes DADT Repeal Bill

Posted by Chris Geidner
December 15, 2010 5:25 PM |
[Edited throughout with final changes at 6:45 p.m.] On a 250-175 vote (Roll Call No. 638), and with 15 Republicans supporting the measure, the House of Representatives on Wednesday, Dec. 15 -- in a chamber temporarily presided over by Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) -- passed a stand-alone bill sponsored by Rep. Patrick Murphy (D-Penn.) that is aimed at the repeal ... [Read]

U.S. Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.), on the floor just now: "It's not that young members of the military who face death, who face the destruction their comrades, they're not the ones who are upset by this. It's our colleagues on the other side who are imputing their unease at the presence of gay and lesbian people to the young people ... [Read]

The White House -- in a statement of administration policy just issued -- "strongly supports House passage" of the standalone House "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" repeal bill. Here it is: STATEMENT OF ADMINISTRATION POLICYHouse Amendment to the Senate Amendment to H.R. 2965 – Don't Ask, Don't Tell Repeal Act of 2010(Rep. Murphy, D-Pennsylvania, and Rep. Hoyer, D-Maryland) The Administration strongly ... [Read]

Moments ago, on a 230-180 vote, the House of Representatives agreed to the rule adopted this morning in the Rules Committee for debate of the standalone bill aimed at repealing "Don't Ask, Don't Tell." Debate on the measure is to begin shortly and a vote is expected later this afternoon. The bill, which is the same as that passed by ... [Read]

The Marine Corps commandant, Gen. James Amos, made it clear when testifying before the Senate Armed Services Committee on Dec. 3 that he opposed the repeal of the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy. He also, however, said, "Could we implement repeal at this time? The answer is yes. ... We are Marines." Today, however, Amos appeared to think less of ... [Read]

The Wonk Room's Igor Volsky reports the news that "House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) announced that Rep. Patrick Murphy (D-PA) will introduce a stand-alone ["Don't Ask, Don't Tell"] repeal bill that he will co-sponsor and bring to the House floor in short order." The bill is identical to S. 4023 -- the standalone DADT repeal bill introduced by Sen. ... [Read]

This morning, lawyers for Servicemembers Legal Defense Network filed a lawsuit in federal court seeking the reinstatement of three servicemembers ousted under "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," including former Air Force Major Mike Almy. The lawsuit claims that the DADT-related discharges of the Almy, former Air Force Staff Sgt. Anthony Loverde and former Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Jason D. Knight ... [Read]

[Photo: Michelle Benecke -- a co-founder of SLDN -- rallies the crowd to urge congressional action still this year. (Photo by Dylan Comstock.)] One day after the Senate failed to proceed to debate on the bill containing a repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," a dedicated crowd joined members of Servicemembers Legal Defense Network on the crisp December day ... [Read]

News Analysis: Three Votes Down

Posted by Chris Geidner
December 9, 2010 9:30 PM |
Every vote matters. Today, it came down to three votes. Each vote today rather perfectly fits with criticism being levied behind the scenes right now as people regroup and begin pushing for a stand-alone bill to repeal "Don't Ask, Don't Tell." Although there is a desire to move on, there also is a need to look at what went wrong ... [Read]

President Barack Obama released a statement following the Senate's failure to proceed to debate on the National Defense Authorization Act, which contained the language aimed at repealing "Don't Ask, Don't Tell." Saying that he is "extremely disappointed that yet another filibuster has prevented the Senate" from considering the NDAA, he blamed the failure on "a minority of Senators" who he ... [Read]

Following a showdown in the well of the U.S. Senate between Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), the vote to proceed to debate on the National Defense Authorization Act -- the bill that contains the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" repeal amendment -- failed to secure the 60 votes needed for passage of the procedural ... [Read]

At today's White House press briefing -- awaiting word from Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) on the status of the National Defense Authorization Act vote -- spokesman Robert Gibbs was asked multiple questions about "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" repeal. First, Gibbs was asked if the NDAA still could be considered and passed with DADT repeal included in the lame-duck ... [Read]

This morning, the Senate was to vote on three measures, including the reconsideration of the National Defense Authorization Act with the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" repeal measure. After voting on the first two, Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) came to the floor to announce a pause for a "little bit" on the NDAA vote.  Reid first said that it was ... [Read]

Using the following statement put out this evening by Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), here is some analysis of how I see today's National Defense Authorization consideration/"Don't Ask, Don't Tell" repeal developments. Hint: The repeal train was constantly teetering from side to side and likely almost fell off the tracks a few times, were it not for Sen. Joseph Lieberman (I-Conn.) ... [Read]

On the floor of the Senate just now, Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said, "I am working with Senator Collins, Senator Lieberman, Senator Levin & others to try and come up with some way to move forward on the defense bill, but, we'll see if that can be done." Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) is the "tip of the spear" -- ... [Read]

"Staffers" quoted anonymously by various news outlets about the chances of passage for any consideration of the National Defense Authorization Act prompted a critical reaction from one of the prominent supporters of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" repeal, Sen. Joseph Lieberman (I-Conn.). After a report from National Journal -- referenced earlier at Metro Weekly -- this morning noted that "several congressional ... [Read]

[Further Update: Lieberman Slams "Uninformed Staffers" Commenting on NDAA/DADT Talks, LCR's Cooper Talks About GOP Reaction Today.] [UPDATED @ 12:50 P.M.] This morning, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (R-Nev.) announced what was reported as a possibility on Tuesday night -- that a vote on the National Defense Authorization Act, which includes a provision aimed at repealing "Don't Ask, Don't ... [Read]

A strong -- and lengthy -- statement from Servicemembers Legal Defense Network executive director Aubrey Sarvis this morning, calling on the Senate to stay in session until "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" is repealed -- an idea supported by Senators Carl Levin (D-Mich.) and Joseph Lieberman (I-Conn.). Sarvis said in the statement, "With increased pressure - a raised voice - and ... [Read]

President Barack Obama today announced he had reached a "framework" with Republicans regarding tax cuts, unemployment insurance and other related provisions, which could allow for other bills -- including "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" repeal -- to move forward in the lame-duck session of Congress. A senior administration official said, however, that the tax-cut deal did not provide for any specific ... [Read]

Metro Weekly's Prop 8 Argument Summary

Posted by Chris Geidner
December 6, 2010 12:58 PM |
Here's the FAQ about today's two-hour oral argument in Perry v. Schwarzenegger, which is now under way before the three-judge panel of the U.S Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. I am live-tweeting here. [UPDATE: Below, post-argument and cleaned up, is the summary.] Standing Argument By Proponents Charles Cooper, who had led the trial team of the proponents before ... [Read]

Prop 8 Argument Day FAQ

Posted by Chris Geidner
December 5, 2010 10:30 PM |
The topic of same-sex marriage -- particularly, marriage in California -- has popped into the public's eye with regularity over the past two-and-a-half years. On Monday -- with the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals hearing the oral arguments in Perry v. Schwarzenegger, the challenge to the state's Proposition 8 -- the attention will again turn to the West Coast ... [Read]

Michael Iacovone and Mike Blasenstein were not happy when they found out that David Wojnarowicz's video, "A Fire in the Belly," had been removed from the National Portrait Gallery's Hide/Seek: Difference and Desire in American Portraiture exhibit after a conservative news publication reported on the exhibit and conservative figures objected to Wojnarowicz's video. So, despite museum rules that clearly prohibit ... [Read]

[Photo: Sens. Joseph Lieberman (I-Conn.), Carl Levin (D-Mich.) and John McCain (R-Ariz.) at Friday's Senate Armed Services Committee hearing regarding "Don't Ask, Don't Tell." A meeting at the White House to discuss the strategy for repeal of the 1993 law was held later in the day on Friday. (Photo by Ward Morrison.)] Following today's Senate Armed Services Committee hearing ... [Read]

[Photo: Sens. Joseph Lieberman (I-Conn.) and Carl Levin (D-Mich.) talk to Defense Secretary Robert Gates at the first of two days of hearings held Dec. 2 and 3 about "Don't Ask, Don't Tell." (Photo by Ward Morrison.)] Although Sen. Joseph Lieberman (I-Conn.) said today that he was not sure where the negotiations stand between party leaders on Senate consideration of ... [Read]

Earlier this week, some questions were raised about a petition request sent out by Organizing for America -- the former Obama for America entity -- regarding "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" repeal. In large part, the questions related to the fact that: (1) beyond "signing" the petition, there was no action step to help repeal, and (2) the petition request eventually ... [Read]

[Photo: Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin (D-Mich.) and Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) at the committee hearing on Dec. 2. (Photo by Ward Morrison.)] The Senate hearings held today and Friday looking into the Pentagon working group's report about "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" repeal implementation were certain to be a window to the military and a picture of the ... [Read]

In a letter sent to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), all 42 Republican senators have written, "[W]e write to inform you that we will not agree to invoke cloture on the motion to proceed to any legislative item until the Senate has acted to fund the government and we have prevented the tax increase that is currently awaiting all ... [Read]

Once I got home this evening, I began digging in to the nitty-gritty details of the 256-page Pentagon working group report on implementing a repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell." There is a lot of information here, and I hope to have the time to report on more of what I'm finding before Thursday's Senate Armed Services Committee hearings.  But, ... [Read]