For months, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs has responded to questions about President Obama’s support for the repeal of Don’t-Ask-Don’t-Tell by saying that the President seeks a long-term, legislative solution. Many organizations, including the Palm Center, have responded with careful analysis that shows that the President has the power to end the witch hunts, investigations, and discharges under DADT. Today, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid lamented that he has no Senate sponsor of repeal legislation and that he hopes DADT can be ended "administratively."
"I haven’t identified any sponsors," he said. "My hope is that it can be done administratively."
A Democratic aide later clarified that Reid was speaking about the possibility of using an executive order to suspend discharges or perhaps halting enforcement of the policy by changing departmental regulations within the Department of Defense.
The New York Times has endorsed the President’s authority to end enforcement of this discriminatory statute with the stroke of a pen as well.
Referring to Obama’s stroke-of-the-pen authority to issue stop-loss orders which prevent service members from leaving the military, the Times states, “How much better to use the power to prevent the loss of gay service members eager to keep serving.”
The Times joins a growing chorus calling for an executive action including Congressman Rush Holt, Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese, Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Center CEO Lorri Jean, and Knights Out, an organization of West Point graduates co-founded by Dan Choi, the Arabic translator about to be discharged because he’s gay.
If there is no initiative in the United States Senate to repeal DADT, is it time for the President to exercise his executive authority? Harry Reid says yes.