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Socarides Obama Must Lead on DADT

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Richard Socarides, a former special assistant to President Bill Clinton and senior White House adviser on LGBT issues from 1997 to 1999, writes an op-ed in today's Wall Street Journal about the growing impatience of gay voters to whom President Barack Obama promised to end the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy.

Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Michael Mullen are set to testify at a hearing of the Senate Armed Services Committee on the policy. The Pentagon is believed to support an end to DADT, according to Socarides, and is waiting for the cue from President Obama.

"Many wonder when their president will show the same kind of concern for the constitutional rights of gay American service members as he has for enemy combatants held at Guantanamo Bay," writes Socarides. "Many wonder what the administration's willingness to treat gay Americans as second-class citizens says to Uganda and other countries that are considering laws that would subject gays to imprisonment and even death.

"Gay Americans have been among the president's most ardent supporters. Their enthusiasm, and that of their families and friends, could be crucial in this year's elections. The president's action -- or inaction -- on Don't Ask Don't Tell will be noticed."

Read the full op-ed here.

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