View From the Hill: The End of DADT?

Defense Secretary Robert Gates revealed that lawyers are exploring ways to ease enforcement of the military's gay ban, but cautioned that the law doesn't leave much wiggle room.

BY Kerry Eleveld

July 03 2009 12:00 AM ET

Zoe Dunning xlrg (SLDN) | advocate.com

But whatever Gates does, don't expect the White House to weigh in, at least not publicly. They clearly want the onus of this change to fall on their Republican holdover at the Pentagon, not the president.

In fact, the White House press office has done everything possible not to make headlines on this policy change even while not dismissing it altogether.

I asked Robert Gibbs last week if the White House would consider DOD regulation changes and he said he would have to check on the details. Another White House reporter, Tommy Christopher, followed up the next day and Gibbs said he hadn't checked yet. The press office has also declined two subsequent inquiries from me on the matter.

This may not demonstrate the decisive action LGBT activists are looking for, but in some ways, it is consistent with the administration's approach to other touchy legislative issues such as health reform, where they have diligently sidestepped the question of whether the president would sign a bill that doesn't include a public option.

During his Stonewall address at the White House, President Obama told LGBT attendees, "I suspect that by the time this administration's over, you guys will have pretty good feelings about the Obama administration."

Translation: trust me, we're going to take care of you.

Whether you believe the president on this -- or any other issue for that matter -- probably depends on some combination of how glass-half-full your outlook is and if you're inclined to trust the government. And let's be honest, the LGBT community has been abused for years by politicians and the federal government alike.

But one thing is clearer all the time, this administration pulls its strings behind the scenes, masterfully masking how they plan to get from point A to B. So if you are awaiting attention-getting acts of courage on LGBT issues like "don't ask, don't tell" or the Defense of Marriage Act, you could very well be left dangling.

Tags: Politics

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