Are We on the Verge of Finally Repealing 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell?'

Scrapping this policy is not just a priority for the LGBT community -- it's a sought after step for anyone who rejects discrimination, and supports equality and fairness.

Legislation to repeal "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" is still picking up co-sponsors -- in the House, 186 members have signed onto H.R. 1283 -- but as of November, proponents were working on an alternate approach. Just as expansion of hate-crime protections were included in last year's Defense spending bill, Dems launched a plan to pursue DADT repeal through the next Pentagon appropriations measure.

Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) made it sound as if this had been the plan all along -- "'Don't ask, don't tell' was always going to be part of the military authorization." He added at the time that the White House was "totally committed to this and has been from the beginning."

Is this plan still on track? Sam Stein reports today that there's reason to be encouraged.

Congressional negotiators and White House officials are moving forward with plans to add the repeal of Don't Ask Don't Tell to the upcoming defense authorization bill, Democratic sources tell the Huffington Post.

In Congress, members are being whipped to ensure that the votes will be there for passage, should the legislation be placed in the bill. At this juncture, aides say, the prospects look good. Meanwhile, a source close to the White House says the president has instructed the Defense Department that he believes the repeal of DADT should be placed in the authorization bill.

Sounds good to me. It's hardly a done deal, but the appropriate players are sending the appropriate signals. That President Obama wants this to happen makes it far more likely to come to fruition.

Steve Benen is "blogger in chief" of the popular Washington Monthly online blog, Political Animal. His background includes publishing The Carpetbagger Report, and writing for a variety of publications, including Talking Points Memo, The American Prospect, the Huffington Post, and The Guardian. He has also appeared on NPR's "Talk of the Nation," MSNBC's "Rachel Maddow Show," Air America Radio's "Sam Seder Show," and XM Radio's "POTUS '08."
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