My Hopes for the State of the Union


President Obama

Everyone is preparing for tonight’s State of the Union, and as the day goes on stakes are being discussed and raised on the potential for — and what is looking like the content of — of President Obama’s mention of the future of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell in the speech.

As possibilities for LGBT inclusion are discussed, I just wanted to note my ideal three elements for mention about DADT:

  • Obama will discuss ending Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell as an idea whose time is past due and the implementation of which advances the national security.
  • Obama will announce the results of the Pentagon’s investigation into better ways of implementing DADT until legislative repeal, including several of the steps supported by the Palm Center’s recommendations on the matter (specifically, dealing with third-party statements and affirmative investigations where first-hand evidence is not present).
  • Obama will announce that he will be submitting language repealing DADT in his Defense budget this Spring.

Also, though it has been the focus, it is important to remember that more than DADT is on the table.  If Obama’s State of the Union is going to be focused on jobs, I’d expect workplace fairness — and a mention of the need for Congress to pass the Employment Non-Discrimination Act without delay.

Finally, although I’m not going to write about the other areas, it always important to remember that many non-LGBT issues — from health care reform to job creation — impact LGBT people in the same (and sometimes different) ways as they do others.  For some people, depending on their current situation, those pieces of Obama’s speech might just be more important right now.

These aren’t predictions or a preview.  They’re just my vision for what I would see as ideal action from the President on those issues this evening.  As someone else told me earlier this week, “My prediction for the SOTU:  I’ll be watching it.”

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About the Author

Chris Geidner is the award-winning senior political & legal reporter at BuzzFeed and has written for Metro Weekly, The Atlantic Online, The American Prospect,, Salon and other publications, as well as at his blog, Law Dork. He has appeared regularly on television commenting on current affairs, including MSNBC, PBS, HLN & Current. Prior to moving to D.C. in 2009, he served as an attorney on the senior staff at the Ohio Attorney General's Office and had earlier worked for a leading Columbus law firm. An extended biography can be found here, and you can follow him on Twitter.