October 26, 2010 at 10:42 am EDT | by Chris Johnson
White House to meet with ‘Don’t Ask’ repeal advocates

The White House has scheduled a Tuesday meeting with advocates seeking to end “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” to discuss moving forward with repeal legislation in the lame duck session of Congress, according to a White House aide.

“On Tuesday, the White House is meeting with several interested parties to discuss the legislative repeal of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,'” the aide said. “The meeting will concern the work that remains to be done to ensure Congressional action on this issue this year.”

The Advocate was first to report the news. The meeting will reportedly involve senior White House adviser Valerie Jarrett and Deputy Chief of Staff Jim Messina.

Those invited to the meeting include: Aubrey Sarvis of the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network; Joe Solmonese and Allison Herwitt of HRC; Shane Larson of National Stonewall Democrats; Winnie Stachelberg of the Center for American Progress; R. Clarke Cooper of the Log Cabin Republicans; Alex Nicholson and Jarrod Chlapowski of Servicemembers United; Nathaniel Frank, formerly of the Palm Center; and Jim Kessler of the Third Way.


An e-mail from Brian Bond, the deputy director of the White House Office of Public Engagement, was leaked to media outlets including the Advocate and the Blade. In the e-mail, Bond writes, “Obviously this meeting has gotten out. We are expecting the content of the conversation today to be off the record and to help us figure out how to move forward with the lame duck session.

“Also as previously mentioned, there can be no discussion of current court cases or legal strategy or Counsel’s Office will end the meeting. The focus is repeal and the lame duck session. This is also a non-partisan meeting where we want everyone’s help.”

A White House source told the Blade, “Some of the participants in the meeting are involved in active litigation against the government on the issue of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, so it wouldn’t be appropriate to discuss that litigation. This is standard procedure when there is pending litigation involving the government.”


The meeting took place as scheduled on Tuesday and President Obama made an appearance, according to a White House aide.

“The president stopped by to directly convey to the participants his personal commitment on this issue,” the aide said.

Chris Johnson is Chief Political & White House Reporter for the Washington Blade. Johnson attends the daily White House press briefings and is a member of the White House Correspondents' Association. Follow Chris

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