Last night, the Courage Campaign hosted a conference call about the pending repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell (DADT) with Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and Lt. Dan Choi. Gillibrand laid out a three options for repealing the policy, but said that she had yet to secure 60 votes for a repeal. “I think we can have an immediate moratorium, or immediate repeal, or immediate stop of funding, whichever vehicle we can get done first, I think is what we should do,” she said, suggesting that Democrats are coalescing around a strategy that would insert a moratorium into the defense authorization bill.
“The reason why a moratorium might be the quickest way is because there may be one or two senators who believe that because the military asked for a year, they want to show in some way that they’re giving them time.” “A moratorium might get you to the 60 votes, whereas a full repeal might be shy 59 or 58,” she added:
GILLIBRAND: I talked to Chairman Levin today again what he thought the best strategy was and he thinks if we can put it in the underlining bill, in the authorizing legislation, to put a moratorium on the policy for the next 18 months would be the best approach and so I’m going to start writing a letter to get signatures of my colleagues to really begin to develop the votes that I need to show that we can repeal this policy.
Gillibrand sounded optimistic. “I think there are one or two other senators who are in play on this issue [besides Snowe and Collins],” Gilliband said. “I think on the Democratic side, when I asked all my colleagues and I asked all of them, nobody said that they would vote against repeal, nobody said that. They just said they were undecided…there may be one or two that would have trouble doing that, but they did not say they were against repeal.” She said that the President’s commitment and the military’s strong testimony in favor of the repeal emboldened her to ask wavering senators, “what’s your excuse now?”
Asked about what the President could do to end DADT, Gillibrand explained that Obama couldn’t issue an executive order repealing the DADT law, but could declare a “stop-loss,” “meaning we just don’t enforce the policy because we don’t allow anybody to leave the military or the President could create very high requirements for enforcement that noone would ever meet those requirements.”
“I feel it’s my calling, I feel, it’s something I’m built to do and I feel very passionate about it and as soon as we repeal DADT, we’re going to go straight for DOMA and we’re going to get an inclusive ENDA and we dont’ want to leave out the ‘T’ because it’s convenient for some people to leave out the ‘T’.