Obama Appointee Says President is “Moving in the Right Direction” on Gay Rights Agenda

By Jonathan Blakely

Feb 8, 2010 3:56pm

ABC News’ David Chalian Reports: One of the highest ranking gay Obama administration officials said today that President Obama’s call to begin the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” this year is a move in the right direction. Several supporters of President Obama in the gay community were disenchanted with his slow progress on some of their big ticket agenda items such as the repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act and the military’s policy of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” which prevents gays and lesbians from serving in the military openly. “I think it was a very brave step,” said Export-Import Bank Chairman and President Fred Hochberg on ABC’s “Top Line.” “I think President Obama indicated his support for that for many many years, put it into the State of the Union it was a very high profile place of signaling that but more important, equally important was Admiral Mullen and Secretary Gates testifying just last week.  And Admiral Mullen said it so well.  I think he understands that this is a cultural change inside the military and his strong testimony signals that he is four square behind this thing and it is moving. And it is moving as rapidly as it can,” he added. As for whether or not the high profile policy pronouncement by President Obama will assuage the concerns that many gay supporters of the president had been expressing, Hochberg said it certainly has the president heading in the right direction. “Well you know, I think that being a president and being a leader is you’re going to satisfy people and disappoint people.  So, is it assuaged 100%? I doubt it,” Hochberg said. “It’s never assuaged 100 percent, but it’s moving in the right direction.  President Obama signed hate crimes last year, we’re moving forward on ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,’ these are all important steps forward,” he added.

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