Reid Supports Amendment Suspending 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell'
By Perry Bacon Jr.
Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) today threw his support behind an effort to legislatively suspend the controversial "don't ask, don't tell" executive policy regarding gays in the military. The move could lead to a vote on the issue as soon as this week.
Reid said he backed an amendment by new Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) that would suspend for 18 months the military's policy of discharging people who are openly gay. The provision, which would reverse a policy from the Clinton administration, would be added to a defense spending bill now moving through Congress.
Gillibrand's office said she is still gauging support among her colleagues for the amendment and has not committed to introducing it.
Many Democrats strongly dislike the Pentagon's current policy, and gay rights activists have urged the Obama administration to establish a new one, but President Obama and his aides have not pursued the issue yet this year.
Sen. Lamar Alexander (Tenn.), a member of the Senate Republican leadership, said he would oppose such an amendment, saying, "We should hear from our military leaders" before the Senate passes such a provision.
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