June 10, 2009

NYT Urges Obama To Consider Executive Order On Gays

New York Times Adds to Growing Chorus Calling For Swift Presidential Action

SANTA BARBARA, CA,  – The New York Times editorial page has called on President Obama to consider signing an executive order suspending the military’s gay ban, urging him to “see if there is indeed any action he could take on his own.”

Referring to Obama’s stroke-of-the-pen authority to issue stop-loss orders which prevent service members from leaving the military, the Times states, “How much better to use the power to prevent the loss of gay service members eager to keep serving.”

The Times joins a growing chorus calling for an executive action including Congressman Rush Holt, Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese, Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Center CEO Lorri Jean, and Knights Out, an organization of West Point graduates co-founded by Dan Choi, the Arabic translator about to be discharged because he’s gay.

The idea of ending the ban by executive order gained momentum after the release last month of a Palm Center study showing that the president has the authority to suspend “don’t ask, don’t tell” via a stroke of the pen.  Before that time, many argued that only Congress or the courts could lift the ban on service by openly gay troops.

Dr. Nathaniel Frank said that today’s endorsement increases the pressure on the White House to take action.  “The administration is probably coming to believe that this issue is not going away,” he said.  Frank is author of “Unfriendly Fire: How the Gay Ban Undermines the Military and Weakens America” and senior research fellow at the Palm Center.