White House has meeting, no action, on DADT

The topic in an office building adjacent to the White House Tuesday afternoon was Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, the federal law banning openly gay people from the military.

More specifically, it was how to help a lame-duck Senate pass the measure after the November 2 mid-term elections.

But White House press secretary Robert Gibbs acknowledged during a routine press conference Tuesday that he knows of no effort by President Obama to secure the three additional votes needed in the Senate to break a Republican filibuster, according to the Washington Blade. Another White House official said President Obama dropped by the DADT meeting briefly to “directly convey to the participants his personal commitment on this issue.”

And participants in Tuesday afternoon’s meeting with unidentified senior White House officials were instructed to keep their discussions secret. None would provide any details of the meeting to this reporter.

But what seems apparent, thus far, is that, while the White House has not made any outreach to senators, it has apparently devised no new concessions in order to win the additional votes needed in the Senate.

A similar meeting last May between the White House and gay activists produced a change in the House version of the repeal language that required an elaborate certification process before repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell can take place.

Among the 10 LGBT leaders called in for the discussion were representatives of the Human Rights Campaign, the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, Servicemembers United, National Stonewall Democrats and even Log Cabin Republicans.

Log Cabin currently has a lawsuit pending against the government, seeking to end the policy through the courts. That lawsuit was, of course, deliberately not on the table for discussion Tuesday.

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