White House meeting scheduled to discuss congressional repeal of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’


Obama Administration sources, speaking on the condition of anonymity, told the Advocate’s Senior White House Correspondent Kerry Eleveld, that presidential advisor Valerie Jarrett and White House Deputy Chief of Staff Jim Messina, along with other officials, are due to hold a meeting today on “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”

WASHINGTON - APRIL 20: Uniformed members of the Secret Service respond as Lt. Dan Choi (4th R) stands handcuffed to the fence while Capt. Jim Pietrangelo II (L) led away outside the White House on April 20, 2010 in Washington, DC. Activists were reportedly protesting the nation's 'Don't ask, Don't Tell' policy. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)WIN MCNAMEE, GETTY IMAGES

Activists Dan Choi and Jim Pietrangelo II at a White House protest earlier this year.

According to Eleveld, the meeting’s agenda will be to set forth pursuing a Congressional repeal of the policy during the upcoming lame duck session after the elections when lawmakers return to the capital by the White House.

An official speaking on background said:

“The White House is meeting with several interested parties to discuss the legislative repeal of ‘don’t ask, don’t tell.’

“The meeting will concern the work that remains to be done to ensure Congressional action on this issue this year.”

Anger over perceptions that the White House has been indifferent to the demand by the LGBT community and activists to force the issue of repeal intensified last week when the Department of Justice filed for, and received, an emergency stay of U. S. District Court Judge Virginia Phillips’ injunction declaring DADT unconstitutional and suspended enforcement of the law.

“The President has repeatedly said that he feels DADT is unjust and will be removed on ‘his watch,'” a White House official said, “but the President has been consistent in pointing out that the repeal needs to be enacted by Congress.”

UPDATE: The Advocate has obtained a copy of an email sent from Brian Bond, deputy director of the White House Office of Public Engagement and the de facto LGBT liaison, to the meeting’s participants, who include: Allison Herwitt and Joe Solmonese of the Human Rights Campaign; Shane Larson of the Stonewall Democrats; Winnie Stachelberg of the Center for American Progress; Aubrey Sarvis of the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network; R. Clarke Cooper of the Log Cabin Republicans; Alex Nicholson and Jarrod Chlapowski of Servicemembers United; Nathaniel Frank, DADT expert formerly of the Palm Center; Jim Kessler of the Third Way.

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