President Obama on Saturday renewed his vow to allow gay men and lesbians to serve openly in the military, but failed to offer a timetable for doing so — an omission likely to inflame critics who say he is not fighting aggressively enough for gay rights.
“I will end ‘don’t ask, don’t tell,’ ” Mr. Obama told an audience of nearly 3,000 people at a fund-raising dinner for the Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s largest gay advocacy group. “That is my commitment to you.”
The president’s emphatic declaration, on the eve of a major gay rights rally here, brought a huge roar from the crowd at the star-studded black-tie dinner, where tickets cost as much as $1,000 and entertainment was provided by the singer Lady Gaga and the cast of the new Fox comedy “Glee.” But outside the room, the president’s words met with a chillier reception.
Bil Browning, a blogger for Bilerico Project, a Web site aimed at a gay audience, said moments after the speech ended that the site was flooded with critical comments by people who said they had heard nothing new. “I could have watched one of his old campaign speeches and heard the same thing,” one wrote.
Even inside the room, reaction was mixed. Terry Penrod, a real estate agent from Columbus, Ohio, said some gay rights advocates were being impatient with the president, while Raj Malthotra, 29, a management consultant from Washington, said he thought the speech was a rehash of Mr. Obama’s past promises. (continues here at NYT)