In his first State of the Union address, President Obama promised to end “don’t ask, don’t tell,” the contentious policy that bans gay people from openly serving in the armed forces. That was back in January 2009, and the policy still stands.
Why has it taken so long to repeal? That’s exactly what one woman wanted to know Thursday at MTV’s “A Conversation With President Obama.” In response, the president reiterated his commitment to ending the ban and spoke about how anyone, regardless of sexuality, should be able to serve openly and honestly in the armed forces.
“We are moving in the direction of ending this policy,” he said. “It has to be done in a way that is orderly, because we are involved in a war right now. This is not a question of whether the policy will end. This policy will end, and it will end on my watch.”
The president noted that progress has already been made. The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the secretary of defense have both come out publicly against the policy. And there might well be enough votes in the Senate to remove a constraint that is currently blocking the president from ending the policy. He also said he agrees with the judgment of a district court judge who recently ruled “don’t ask, don’t tell” unconstitutional .
“I agree with the basic principle that anybody who wants to serve in our armed forces and make sacrifices on our behalf, on behalf of our national security, anybody should be able to serve, and they shouldn’t have to lie about who they are in order to serve,” he said.
What did you think of Obama’s response to the “don’t ask, don’t tell” question? Let us know in the comments!