All Openly Gay Obama Cabinet Members Should Resign in Protest over Warren Invite

Oh, wait, there aren’t any openly gay people in Obama’s cabinet:

President-elect Barack Obama last week announced the last of his Cabinet nominees, revealing that none of his department heads would be openly gay. The omission, combined with Obama’s decision to invite Rev. Rick Warren to give the invocation at his inauguration, led [the Human Rights Campaign,] the nation’s largest gay rights group to demand that Obama quickly prove his commitment to gay and transgender Americans.

The HRC’s plan includes:

  • Issuing an executive order within the first 100 days of his administration to reaffirm protections for federal workers based on sexual orientation while expanding them to include gender identity.
  • Working with Congress to enact hate crimes legislation within six months.
  • Developing a plan within 100 days to begin the process of repealing the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” [DADT] law, which prohibits openly gay people from serving in the military.

The first two items are relatively simple, but repealing DADT could be problematic. Not long after Pres. Bill Clinton took office, he stumbled in an attempt to repeal military regulations that prohibited gay people from serving in the military, particularly because he faced opposition from Colin Powell, who then served as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, as well as from Democrats on the Senate Armed Services Committee, including the chairman, Sam Nunn of Georgia.

This stumble led to DADT, a bizarre compromise under which gay people can serve in the military as long as they deny who they are and stay in the closet.

Now, 15 years later, Powell has (sort of) reversed himself on DADT, saying it ought to be reevaluated. Sam Nunn retired into much deserved irrelevance years ago. More importantly, at least one national poll indicates that Americans are ready to scrap DADT:

The ABC News/Washington Post Poll, which has tracked the issue for 15 years, shows that public attitudes that were in line with the [DADT] policy in 1993 no longer are.

The poll posed two questions.

The first was: “Do you think that homosexuals who do not publicly disclose their sexual orientation should be allowed to serve in the military?”In 1993, 63 percent said yes; in July 2008, 78 percent said yes.

The second question was: “Do you think that homosexuals who do publicly disclose their sexual orientation should be allowed to serve in the military or not?” In 1993, only 44 percent said yes; in July, 75 percent said yes.

Repealing DADT is still something of a trap for Obama because it could provide ammunition for Republican charges down the road that he is too liberal. A much safer course would be to disinvite Rick Warren from speaking at the inauguration.

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