Obama: "Prepared to Implement"

BY Kerry Eleveld

December 22 2010 3:35 AM ET


One quick follow-up. You’ve taken the oath of office, of course, to protect the Constitution.
This is true.

And so ...
But that does not mean that in every interview I opine on constitutional law.

but in fact you’ve opined on very few constitutional [questions] — I
think, in this particular case, I think this is something that LGBT
people would be hungry to hear you weigh in on.

I’m sure they would be.

Yes, OK. Back to “don’t ask, don’t tell” real quick. How long do you anticipate the certification process [will be]?

spoke to Admiral Mullen today. He said he’s taking the implementation
manual that was a companion to the attitudinal survey off to vacation
with him. He is prepared to implement. I spoke to other of the service
chiefs, including, for example, General Amos. We saw that in the
attitudinal surveys there was the most resistance in the Marine Corps.
But Jim Amos said to me that he’s ready to implement and he’s going to
make it work.

So my strong sense is this is a matter of months…

Not years?
not years — and that we will get this done in a timely fashion, and the
chiefs are confident that it will get done in a timely fashion. They
understand this is not something that they’re going to be slow-walking.

it’s lifted, of course, there’s no nondiscrimination mandate as it
stands. Is that something that you plan to work with the Department of
Defense on, setting some internal regulations so that there is a
nondiscrimination protection for gays and lesbians, or even issue an
executive order?

I think there are a whole range of
implementation issues that are going to be worked through in the coming
weeks, and so I don’t want to get too far ahead of the process. I want
to make sure it’s very deliberate. I want to make sure that these guys
have time to answer these questions. But one of the things I’m confident
about in the military is, once a decision is made by the
commander in chief, it gets carried out and it gets carried out well.

when you think about what happened in terms of racial integration in
the Army or in our military, when you look at women’s inclusion in our
military, I think the history has been that there are bumps along the
road; new issues arise that weren’t always anticipated — partly, by the
way, because it wasn’t done as systematically as we’re going to — as I
think we’re going to be able to carry out here — but to a remarkable
degree, our military is able to inculcate a strong sense that everybody
has got to be treated the same. And I have confidence that that will be
true here as well.

So I’m going to be getting recommendations
from them partly from tracking what was in the implementation
recommendations — about how to move forward to make sure that everybody
from the private to the four-star general knows sexual orientation is
not a criteria by which they are treating people in a discriminatory
fashion in the military. And I’m confident it’s going to be carried out.

So there’s going to be some way of having a nondiscrimination mandate somehow?

am going to look exactly at what the recommendations are, and we will
be making decisions over the next series of weeks about what is
necessary to implement not just the letter but the spirit of this

Big-picture question about LGBT people and where the
movement is headed. You’re sitting in the midst of a time that
s of
great change. You’re not quite willing to go there on same-sex marriage
yet. What do you see as something that moving forward would be one of
the biggest possible advancements for LGBT people ...

Well ...

Potentially in the course of your presidency in the next two years?
look, I would distinguish between things that should get done and I
fully support but may still be stalled with a Republican-controlled
Congress — or Republican-controlled House of Representatives that's not
inclined to go there, versus things that can happen in society at large.

have been struck — let me take the former — repealing DOMA, getting [the Employment Non-Discrimination Act]
done, those are things that should be done. I think those are natural
next steps legislatively. I’ll be frank with you, I think that's not
going to get done in two years. I think that's — we’re on a three- or
four-year time frame unless there’s a real transformation of attitudes
within the Republican caucus.

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