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Frank: No Don't Ask, Don't Tell Repeal Until Next Year

Yesterday, Jason Bellini of The Daily Beast had a blockbuster story alleging that the Human Rights Campaign (HRC)--the largest gay rights organization in the United States--made a deal with congressional leaders to delay action on allowing gays to serve openly in the military:

HRC immediately denied the report, calling it "an outright lie" and "recklessly irresponsible." I decided to call Representative Barney Frank--who, as the longest serving openly gay Congressperson has a lot of influence on these issues--to try to confirm or deny Bellini's story. This is what his press secretary, Harry Gural, told me:

"As far as HRC goes, we have not heard anything whatsoever about that, none at all. You would think that Congressman Frank--if there was some kind of ‘deal'--that he would have some idea about it. Hate crimes just passed, and he is hopeful that we'll get to ENDA [Employee Non-Discrimination Act] in the fall. He's a pragmatist about these things, and thinks that that's the most realistic order to go in."

So while Frank's camp is denying--or is at least highly dubious--that a deal along the lines Bellini posits has been made, they agree with the alleged deal's contents. Either way, it's looking increasingly likely that Don't Ask Don't Tell will survive 2009, and that hundreds of qualified servicemembers will be dismissed in the process.

--Dylan Matthews