THE BLOG

Pres. Obama: Accept Nobel Peace Prize for All America's Military Families, Including Our LBGT Patriots

10/11/2009 04:37 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Two important events in Barack Obama's presidency this weekend underline

the urgent need to walk the talk about equality for all. First was the

surprise award of the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize for President Obama's

transformational vision of a world free of nuclear weapons where all

are called to address global challenges. Second was the president's

eloquent speech to the Human Rights Campaign where he extolled equality

for all regardless of sexual orientation. The key word in both

discussions is ALL -- the universality of the humanity we all share, the

challenges we all face, the commitment we all have to each other, and

the call to action we all hear to live up to our ideals.  In that

spirit, I believe President Obama should accept his 2009 Nobel

Peace Prize on

behalf of ALL America's Military Families -- including our LBGT patriots -- and seize the moment to allow all Americans to serve as 

peacekeepers.

In President Obama's powerful speech to the Human Rights Campaign

about equal rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender

Americans, he said, "I am working with the Pentagon, its leadership and

members of the House and Senate to end this policy. I will end Don't

Ask Don't Tell. That is my commitment to you."   Excellent. Now how about a timeline? As we continue to fight two wars, do we have

so many active duty troops,

intelligence officials, interpreters, engineers, and other military personnel that we can afford to

lose the skills and service of gay

Americans? I think not. With only 3% of Americans on active duty

fighting two wars and engaged in peacekeeping efforts across the globe,

we should be motivating more military service -- not less. If LBGT

patriots are ready, willing, and able to help defend America, fight

al Qaeda, and promote peace,why not let them do so?

As the Center for American Progress points out

  "Congress,

in the Authority of the President to Suspend Certain Laws

Relating to Promotion, Retirement, and Separation—10 U.S.C. §

12305—grants the president authority to suspend the separation of

military members during any period of national emergency in which

members of a reserve component are serving involuntarily on active

duty." Thus, by early December,

President Obama will have ample time to review troop

needs for America's commitments around the globe, reflect on Pentagon

recommendations, and rescind further military separations based upon

Don't Ask Don't Tell. 

Just as President Truman transformed military policy

with a stroke of a pen in July 1948 by ordering the desegregation of

the U.S.

armed forces, President Obama can advance American security and

equality in December 2009 by signing an executive order rescinding

further military separations based upon Don't Ask, Don't Tell and

working with Congress to complete the repeal.  There is no time like

the present, and no better occasion than Oslo, to show the world that

all Americans join in our responsibility to peace and freedom.