Obama vows to end ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ but no timetable given

October 11, 2009

(ChattahBox) — President Barack Obama addressed the Human Rights Campaign at its annual fundraising dinner Saturday the nation’s largest gay political advocacy group.  With several thousand people hanging on his every word, President Obama reaffirmed his campaign pledge to end the ban on homosexuals serving openly in the military, but offered no timetable or specifics for acting on that promise to the disappointment of many.  The law prohibiting openly gay people from serving in the U.S. military was passed by Congress in 1993 and signed by President Bill Clinton, who also promised to repeal the ban on homosexuals in the military but was stopped by opposition in the military and Congress.

At the dinner where tickets cost as much as $1,000 and entertainment was provided by the singer Lady Gaga and the cast of the new Fox comedy “Glee,” Obama acknowledged that work on those issues was “taking longer than you’d like” as the push to overhaul healthcare and dealing with the economic crisis dominate his domestic agenda.  But he promised “unwavering” support for broadening the rights of gays and lesbians and said he would not allow the issue to be sidetracked.  Activists plan to march in Washington on Sunday to urge faster action on overturning the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy and repealing the Defense of Marriage Act, which bars the federal government from forcing states to recognize gay marriage.  Obama who campaigned as a “fierce advocate” of equal rights for gays, last week nominated an openly gay lawyer, David Huebner, to serve as his ambassador to New Zealand and Samoa.

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