Friday, May 30, 2008
HRC Equality presents Obama, Clinton on the GLBT issues (especially DADT)
The Human Rights Campaign bulletin ("Equality") for Spring 2008 has interviews with both Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. In the interviews, the questions are posed as coming from “Equality.”
Both candidates support repealing “don’t ask don’t tell,” and both warn that as president they would have to sell Congress on ending the policy (and removing it from US Code, as passed Nov. 1993). Clinton (p. 12) talks about building the “political will” to do so. She says that she knows that the capacity to serve in the military has nothing to do with sexual orientation.
Obama talks about DADT in two answers. First, in a general answer on p 13, he says, “think how far we’ve come from the 1990s in building public support for ending ‘Don’t Ask Don’t Tell’…as he is making the bigger point that building public support for ending all anti-gay discrimination is essential and remains partly a grassroots effort. Om p 15 he gives a more specific answer, as he indicates that he will get being the Military Readiness Enhancement Act that would repeal the policy. He also says that if the policy is repealed, he will develop a policy to reinstate some of those who had been separated under “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell”. He does indicate that a formal action plan is necessary.
A good place to start now is to review the report commissioned in 1993 by Les Aspin, Rand Corporation (National Defense Research Institute). Sexual Orientation and U.S. Military Personnel Policy: Options and Assessment. Los Angeles: Rand, 1993. This is available on Amazon and is expensive. I would think that a new president should hire Rand to update the study with a second volume, take into consideration the record of witchhunts, and also consider the novel problems that might occur when soldiers can discover personal information about one another on the Internet. As we know, commands vary widely in allowing servicemembers to blog, especially from overseas; there are many valuable blogs and YouTube videos from Iraq.
On gay marriage, Obama supports the idea that states can implement “equal rights” by appropriately structuring civil unions, perhaps using the term “civil marriage” (p 13)
Clinton also says that marriage law has traditionally been left to the states, but that she would fight for equal treatment for “same-sex couples” in all federal areas, like social security benefits.