View From the Hill

Mainstream media put on a blitzkrieg of coverage aimed at the Obama administration's avoidance of LGBT issues, but the real test of where the administration stands on "don't ask, don't tell" will come next Wednesday.

BY Kerry Eleveld

May 08 2009 12:00 AM ET

It's also a fight that the president has been notably silent on and, in fact, the momentum seems to have slowed since he took office. While a repeal bill has been introduced in the House, no bill has emerged in the Senate even after Sen. Edward Kennedy was reportedly preparing to introduce one several months ago.

Admiral Mike Mullen went from acknowledging last December, "The president-elect's been pretty clear that he wants to address this issue," to saying in April, "I haven't gotten any direction to specifically go to study it and come back with a recommendation."

A New York Times article about mounting pressure on LGBT issues noted that Human Rights Campaign president Joe Solmonese along with other LGBT group leaders met with White House officials this week to strategize on hate crimes and "don't ask, don't tell."

"They have a vision," Solmonese told the Times . "They have a plan."

In a follow-up phone call with me, Solmonese declined to discuss the details of the meeting but, regarding the military's gay ban, he noted that "a lot more work" needed to be done beyond simply introducing a bill.

"The administration is probably working through a lot of different options right now, and we're interested to see what is the most expeditious and sustainable one," he said, "What will be the strategy and the vehicle and the timeline to getting it done?"

Solmonese also suggested that timeline might be less than immediate.

"They could be working on a 'don't ask, don't tell' strategy that would take 18 months," he said. "I trust that this is something that's being worked on and they're looking at something more comprehensive and long-term than just putting out a statement [of support]."

Tags: Politics

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