by Max Brantley
Reports are that the White House, Pentagon and legislative leaders have reached a deal on ending the "don't ask don't tell" policy on military service by gay people. There would be a quick vote, but no formal change in policy until completion of a Pentagon review, Dec. 1 at the earliest. (Noted: there is no guarantee of Pentagon assent or a date to do so.)
It is unclear if there are sufficient votes to pass it. If recent history is a guide, Republicans not only will throw up a roadblock, they will adopt it as a flashpoint campaign issue for fall. Republican candidates in Arkansas are already in solid opposition (if you know any Republican who departs from this position, please let me know) and also favor continued legalization of workplace discrimination against gay people.
The larger question is for the American people. Has society moved far enough to accept acknowledged gay people as comrades in arms, co-workers, friends and neighbors? At least in sufficient numbers that it is not a flag-burner of an election issue?
PS -- CNN poll shows 80 percent of Americans support military service by openly gay people. How, really, could you not? Unless you're Tim Griffin and fond of nurturing old prejudices.