On a historic day where Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell repeal is signed, the Advocate just posted another piece of history: the president does his first sit-down interview with a member of the LGBT press (NLGJA’s LGBT journalist of the year, Kerry Eleveld). Here’s the top of the story:
Admiral Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, is taking the implementation manual for repeal of “don’t ask, don’t tell” with him on vacation, President Obama told The Advocate during a wide-ranging interview late Tuesday afternoon—the first one-on-one interview of his presidency with an LGBT news outlet.
“My strong sense is [implementation] is a matter of months,” Obama said from the Oval Office. “Absolutely not years.”
The president added that he has also broached the topic with the General James Amos, commandant of the Marine Corps, and that “he’s going to make it work.” Amos has been the most outspoken critic of repeal among the military’s service chiefs.
Obama also said that he is “incredibly proud” of following through on repealing the 1993 law and recalled a pledge he made to a service member while working a rope line in Afghanistan just a few weeks ago.
“A young woman in uniform was shaking my hand—it was a big crowd—she hugged me and she whispered in my ear, ‘Get ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ done.’ And I said to her, ‘I promise you I will.’”
On the question of marriage equality, the president said his “attitudes are evolving.”
“Like a lot of people, I’m wrestling with this,” he said. “I’ve wrestled with the fact that marriage traditionally has had a different connotation. But I also have a lot of very close friends who are married gay or lesbian couples.”
Definitely read the whole thing, and congrats to Eleveld and the Advocate for their exclusive.