While addressing a audience of young people at an MTV Town Hall, President Obama told the crowd that “don’t ask, don’t tell” will end “on my watch,” saying it isn’t a question of whether it will end, but when.
On Thursday the Department of Justice filed an appeal in an attempt to block a federal
judge's injunction that would stop enforcement of "don't ask, don't tell." When an audience member asked Obama why he didn't just sign an executive order ending the ban, just as President Harry Truman signed an order to desegregate the military, the president said this is a different situation.
"Congress explicitly passed a law that took away power of the executive branch to end this policy unilaterally," he said. It is "not a situation where with a stroke of the pen I can end this policy."
The president also told the audience he doesn’t believe being gay is a choice and that he thinks “we’re all children of God.”
"I don't profess to be an expert," the president said in response to a question. "I don't think it's a choice. I think people are born with a certain makeup, and we're all children of God."
Obama said he believes “we don't make determinations about who we love. That's why I think discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation is wrong.”
Earlier Thursday, White House senior adviser Valerie Jarrett apologized for using the phrase “lifestyle choice” while discussing a bullied Minnesota teen who committed suicide in July.
"Sexual orientation and gender identity are not a choice, and anyone who knows me and my work over the years knows that I am a firm believer and supporter in the rights of LGBT Americans,” she said in a statement.