Gay Congressmembers Call On Obama To Issue A Veto Threat Over DADT Provision In National Defense Bill

Via Pam Spaulding, the four-openly gay members of Congress are urging President Obama to “formally threaten to veto the Defense Authorization bill if it contains language that could undermine the repeal of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.'” The measure that passed the House contained two amendments that would expand the certification process to include the service chiefs, prohibited the Navy from performing same-sex marriage on Navy bases in states where they are legal, and re-applied the Defense of Marriage Act to the the armed forces. Similar measures are not expected in the Senate version of the bill.

President Obama has expressed opposition to these provisions in a statement of administration policy, but Reps. Barney Frank (D-MA), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) Jared Polis (D-CO) and David Cicilline (D-RI) are calling on Obama to go further:

But some questions have been raised by opponents of the policy who have noted a distinction between those provisions of the House passed bill that you noted could lead to a veto, and the absence of such language regarding the anti-“Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” provisions. We believe it would therefore be extremely useful for you to make clear that if the final bill presented to you does include these sections, which would undermine the end to discrimination in the military, that you will veto the bill on that ground.

Significantly, the service chiefs have previously indicated that they trusted Secretary of Defense Robert Gates to address their concerns before eliminating the policy and warned Republicans that expanding the certification process could actually undermine the chain of command. The DADT law will not be repealed until 60 days after the president, the defense secretary and the chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff certify the U.S. military is ready for open service.