President Barack Obama is allowing the Department of Defense to run the course of its investigation as to how to repeal "don't ask, don't tell," White House press secretary Robert Gibbs told reporters Wednesday. The DOD's study is due December 1, suggesting legislative action will likely be ruled out until after the new year.
From the transcript:
The Advocate: Let me get back to the question. So there was the heckling on Monday night, there's the veterans yesterday at the White House gates handcuffing themselves to the fence. All of these actions are aimed at getting repeal this year, something the White House has sort of declined to commit to since the State of the Union address. Has the White House misjudged the level of patience among LGBT and grassroots activists on this?
Gibbs: No. Again, I would remind anybody on this issue — look, first of all, I will say this. Obviously the president made a commitment in the presidential campaign, and understands the passion that people hold the belief that all should be able to serve. The president holds that belief too.
But I would remind folks that wasn't a belief that the president held in 2007 — that's a belief that the president held in running for the Senate as far back as 2003.
The president has made and is committed to making this changed law. I don't think he's underestimated the — as you said, the patience of some. The president wants to see this law changed, just as you've heard the chair of the Joint Chiefs and others in the military say that it's time for that change to happen.
The Advocate: But he's committed to them letting the Pentagon work through its working group process until December 1, is that true? He's committed to that?
Gibbs: Yes. The president has set forward a process with the Joint — the chair of the Joint Chiefs and with the secretary of Defense to work through this issue.
The Advocate: Before any legislative action is taken — that rules out legislative action this year?
Gibbs: Well, again — the House and the Senate are obviously a different branch of government. The president has a process and a proposal I think that he believes is the best way forward to seeing, again, the commitment that he's made for many years in trying to — changing that law.