"Don't ask, don't tell" repeal coming next year?

Rep. Barney Frank says a measure to undo the controversial military policy could be introduced soon

Published November 11, 2009 5:25PM (EST)

LGBT activists -- and progressives generally, regardless of sexuality -- have been waiting for months now to hear about a timetable for repealing the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy, which forbids gays from openly serving. And with good reason; ending the ban was, after all, a campaign promise of President Obama's.

If Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., is to be believed -- and given his own sexuality and his stature among Congressional Democrats, on issues like this one, he generally is -- we now have an idea of that timeline.

On Wednesday, Frank told the Advocate's Kerry Eleveld that a repeal is likely to be a part of the Department of Defense authorization bill taken up in Congress next year. "'Don’t ask, don’t tell' was always going to be part of the military authorization," Frank said. 

Frank also told Eleveld that he's been communicating about this with the White House and Congressional leaders, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, so presumably he knows what he's talking about here. The problem is the chance of someone, whether in the White House or in Congress, getting cold feet about the idea of doing the repeal in what could be a tough election year anyway. Overturning DADT polls quite well, but that doesn't mean people won't be scared anyway.

(Hat-tip to Ben Smith.)

By Alex Koppelman

Alex Koppelman is a staff writer for Salon.

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Barney Frank D-mass. Don't Ask Don't Tell Lgbt