This week’s repeal of the Don’t-Ask-Don’t-Tell (DADT) provision for the military may not be the parting of the waters we might hope. Most certainly, it was not the doom anti-gay sorts have been claiming for the 17 years they have fought the repeal.
Kara Suffredini, MassEquality‘s executive director, joined us to think about the short-, mid- and long-term affects of the repeal. Click below to hear her views.
She does not see a flood or even solid stream of LGBT-positive results. Instead, she is simultaneously looking over the next five to 10 years, with some victories in Congress, others at state levels and still others in courts, and fending off challenges from those who would overturn same-sex marriage and other rights.
Suffredini noted that MassEquality was a bit freer for other efforts, including some beyond the state like helping Rhode Island finish passing SSM there. While DADT was fought on Capitol Hill, the local effort was hard fought as well. She cited the many thousands of post cards, phone calls and visits to legislators, particularly U.S. Sen. Scott Brown.
She discussed the loose interplay between DADT, SSM and the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). She noted that marriage rights and who can serve in the military have been closely linked even before gays and lesbians entered into the equation. Yet, she does not see the DADT victory as showing a major shift in Congress on DOMA. Instead, this week’s repeal indicates an important change in public opinion, which in turn eventually affects lawmakers.
Suffredini acknowledged that this repeal was a shot in the arm to her efforts. However, she also sees losses like the anti-SSM vote in Maine last year as having similar negative effects. In her terms, once lawmakers make a tough decision, they don’t want to revisit it.
Listen in as she describes the work ahead and where she sees possibilities.