View From the Hill: "DADT" Momentum

COMMENTARY: The issue of repealing "don't ask, don't tell" has been at a virtual standstill for months, but this week the dam started to give way to movement from both the White House and HRC.

BY Kerry Eleveld

June 05 2009 12:00 AM ET

For his part, Belkin seized on the opportunity to enlist HRC's help on the stop-loss concept he began pushing several weeks ago. "I would say that it is very moving and powerful that HRC is now fully committed to immediate presidential action on the gays in the military issue," he told Pam's House Blend .

Without getting swept up in the "he said, he said" minutia of this firestorm, the big picture suggests a change in momentum on "DADT." And momentum matters a great deal in politics -- just like in sports.

Backed up against the wall of continued reports from mainstream organizations like Ben Smith's Politico.com piece , Andrew Sullivan's appearance on CNN , and, quite frankly, a sustained and heroic effort by Rachel Maddow to keep these discharges front and center, the White House may be concluding that they can't just shove LGBT issues in a drawer until they feel like playing with them at some later date.

And let's not overlook the fact that the administration's willingness to engage this issue came on the same week that HRC found its voice. As the LGBT organization with the most access to the White House, HRC might have some sort of sixth sense about where the administration is headed. In fact, Solmonese not only called for a moratorium on the policy during his Hardball appearance -- he said he believed the administration would overturn the gay ban "in the course of a year or so." Sounds like a lofty goal when the Senate bill is still collecting dust on some staffer's desk, but any timeline is better than none, which is what we had at the week's start.

As the "DADT" train began edging out of the station this week, the marriage train rolled on with yet another state -- New Hampshire -- joining the ranks of the maritally equitable. Technically, seven states have now legalized marriage, though we lost California, leaving us with six. Half of those six wins came while President Obama was traveling abroad -- Iowa, Vermont, and New Hampshire. Let's face it -- his overseas trips have been good to our community.

But New Hampshire marked yet another notable milestone for the movement -- in the states where we can legally marry, we have now won that right legislatively in just as many states as we've done it judicially. Before summer's end, New York might tip the balance.

Tags: Politics

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