Yes, President Obama did not wave a magic wand and made DADT go away immediately after taking office in 2009 but had promised saying that, “DADT will end on my watch”.
After taking many hits and abuse from the Professional Left and some Gay activists, after conveying on multiple venues that his commitment to ensure equality for the LGBTQ community was in fact unquestionable, uncompromisable and will be methodical, he was quickly second guessed as is the case in many other issues this days. He was called a homophobe, a bigot, a “Jim Crow” administration who is not in "our side" and many other condescending names. In fact, one so called activist who always wants to be the center of attention on LGBTQ issues called him unengaged in the repeal process at all and claimed DADT is Dead using gossip sources to create an artificial narrative as usual while the pathetic Dan Choi foamed at the mouth disowning the President for doing exactly what many Americans want to see happen.
However, so much of the rhetoric never held back the President from continuing to pass legislation and executive orders that helped ensure that equality for LGBTQ community is achieved while step-by-step changing the minds and hearts of many Americans applifying the message that "out of many, we are one". He signed laws that extended benefits to same-sex partners of federal employees, instructed HHS to require any hospital receiving Medicare or Medicaid funds to allow LGBT visitation rights, banned job discrimination based on gender identity throughout the Federal government, signed the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Treatment Extension Act, extended the Family and Medical Leave Act to cover Gay employees taking unpaid leave to care for their children of same-sex partners, appointed the first ever transgender DNC member as well as the first ever open transgender appointees and extended domestic violence protections to LGBT victims and many more amongst the many accomplishments achieved under the current administration.
During the most contested time of his Presidency after the mid-year elections and the lose of a significant number of seats in the House that shifted the power structure to the Republicans in the 111th Congress, President Obama was as usual cool and collected pushing to make deals to secure the necessary votes to pass important legislation. Amongst them were the START Treaty that would commit the U.S. and Russia to cut their deployed nuclear weapons by about 30 percent, the two years tax extension that helped extend unemployment insurance, giving $2,000 payroll tax savings for 155 million workers, a Child tax credit of $1,000 per child and many other goodies, the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 and finally the most contested bill of 2010 the Repeal of DADT.
It took 2 years to undo what was done 18 years ago under our former President Clinton while President Obama got the beating at every step of the way to undoing this discriminatory law. However, I had no doubt in my mind from the time I noticed of Sen. Obama during the 2008 Presidential campaign that he is committed to the issue of equality and will improve the lives of LGBT Americans. So many doubted him even after he addressed the LGBTQ community at the HRC dinner in October 2009 reaffirming his commitment that he will get the repeal of DADT done. Some understandably out of frustration and because it was not quick enough but I knew all along that President Obama's path for repealing DADT was the right path, methodical from the start and am proud to stand along side him.
Last Tuesday, the President issued a statement about the official end of a vicious and discriminatory law, "Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell". It was another promise made that ended up being a promise kept:
Today, the discriminatory law known as ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ is finally and formally repealed. As of today, patriotic Americans in uniform will no longer have to lie about who they are in order to serve the country they love. As of today, our armed forces will no longer lose the extraordinary skills and combat experience of so many gay and lesbian service members. And today, as Commander in Chief, I want those who were discharged under this law to know that your country deeply values your service.Well, indeed the era of DADT is over ones and for all.
I was proud to sign the Repeal Act into law last December because I knew that it would enhance our national security, increase our military readiness, and bring us closer to the principles of equality and fairness that define us as Americans. Today’s achievement is a tribute to all the patriots who fought and marched for change; to Members of Congress, from both parties, who voted for repeal; to our civilian and military leaders who ensured a smooth transition; and to the professionalism of our men and women in uniform who showed that they were ready to move forward together, as one team, to meet the missions we ask of them.
For more than two centuries, we have worked to extend America’s promise to all our citizens. Our armed forces have been both a mirror and a catalyst of that progress, and our troops, including gays and lesbians, have given their lives to defend the freedoms and liberties that we cherish as Americans. Today, every American can be proud that we have taken another great step toward keeping our military the finest in the world and toward fulfilling our nation’s founding ideals.
Well, that depends on who you want to elect a President in 2012. According to Rick Santorum, as per yesterday's Republican Debate, he thinks reapeal of DADT has been "Detrimental" for Gay soldiers if you watch this video (transcript below):
SANTORUM: I would say any type of sexual activity has absolutely no place in the military. The fact they are making a point to include it as a provision within the military that we are going to recognize a group of people and give them a special privilege to, and removing don't ask don’t tell. I think tries to inject social policy into the military. And the military's job is to do one thing: to defend our country...Did you hear the reaction of Republican crazy teapartiers promoting a divided America and pushing for a discriminatory law? Should I remind you of their inhumanity or lack of compassion for the have nots as demonstrated by the "let them die" outburst: This is what the Republican Party is all about. They are indeed all about that "Ponzi Scheme" to taking the country to the cleaners in the name of the most uninformed people who work against their own self interest.
KELLY: What would you do with soldiers like Stephen Hill?
SANTORUM: What we are doing is playing social experimentation with our military right now. That’s tragic. I would just say that going forward we would reinstitute that policy if Rick Santorum was president. That policy would be re-instituted as far as people in, I would not throw them out because that would be unfair to them because of the policy of this administration. But we would move forward in conformity with what was happening in the past. Which was- sex is not an issue. It should not be an issue. Leave it alone. Keep it to yourself whether you are heterosexual or homosexual.
Are people like Rick Santorum, Ron Paul and Rick Perry the future of America? Is this what America wants for its future? It should be every Americans conviction to work to dismantle the Republican institution that promotes hate, division, class warfare and bigotry by ousting as many Republicans as possible from a position of power. Do we reward failure and embrace it in 2012 or will we be in the side of new and better ideas for America? President Obama has many accomplishments under his belt when we had given him the tools to effect change. He has also tried his very best to keep all of his promises as there has not a single thing he had said he has not either done or tried to do and if he has not been successful in getting it done yet, he is still trying to get them done.
The President is indeed working to get things done. Everyday. Are you helping to elect the right people in Congress so that we can achieve our "big tent" issues. I hope you are because the current Republican field is nothing but people who are ready to bleed this country to its death. We live in a world that is very complex and extraordinary requiring an extraordinary leader like President Obama to save it from a complete melt down.
I say, "Yes.We.Can...Do. It. Together"!