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Sunday, December 19, 2010

Log Cabin’s Cooper Says Lawsuit Continues Until DADT is Over

By Karen Ocamb -

LCR Executive Director R. Clarke Cooper
Log Cabin Republican Executive Director R. Clarke Cooper got his Senate Gallery pass to watch Saturday’s historic vote repealing Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell from Sen. Scott Brown, (R-MA), a “yes” vote and a fellow Army officer. Cooper is currently serving as a Captain in the Army Reserves. He sat in the gallery with current and former servicemembers.
On the steps of the Senate after the vote, Cooper got a handshake from White House Senior Policy Advisor Valerie Jarrett and a hug from Tina Chen, Director of the White House Office of Public Engagement.  The White House women said, “Congratulations. Good work!” and wished Cooper a Merry Christmas. He replied, “Thank you. It looks like it’s a Merry Christmas for all of us.”
In a Nov. 5 interview with me, Cooper reacted to Obama essentially telling him to get Republican votes – which Cooper felt pretty confident about getting after the elections.  After the vote today, Cooper told me he thought he had the six votes – including Sen. John Ensign, who told him yes in June. Ensign voted yes for the final Senate vote.
Cooper said he and other gay Republicans are shocked by Sen. John McCain’s performance:
“Its more than over the top and inappropriate. It was a last ditch effort and unfortunately for McCain and Gen. Amos (the Marine Commandant who said repealing DADT would lost Marine lives) – history will show who the heros and villains were in this vote and those who were so aggressive and vitriolic against repeal will not be seen in a good light.
But I’m really sad about this. There are a number of people I know – a number of Republicans who worked for McCain who can’t believe that he took such a turn. It’s really hard for gay Republicans.  This is just so large it’s off the Richter Scale. This wasn’t just a minor tremor. It’s a major seismic quake. I didn’t expect it.”
Independent Sen. Joe Lieberman earned high praise. Cooper said:
“Lieberman is that bridge because he knows what to say to Democrats who were skeptical about reaching out to Republicans. Many Democrats thought only Sen. Susan Collins supported repeal. But Lieberman said, ‘Don’t presume there is just one. We need to get more.” And Lieberman has great credentials with Republicans, especially on foreign policy and defense. So he was good at briedging this on bipartisanship. Remember, the bill was introduced as Collins, Lieberman, and Udall so you had an “R, I and D.”
Cooper described Collins as “our inside lobbyist.”
On how the vote might impact the Log Cabin’s six year old federal lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of DADT, Cooper said:
“The lawsuit is still in play until everything is done. SLDN is right: until the law is promulgated and enacted and the certification is complete, Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell is still the law of the land. This is awesome news today – it’s one big step done. But implementation could years. It took years to get racial integration.”


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