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Gates to Congress: Don't vote yet on 'don't ask'

By Ed O'Keefe

Updated 7:29 p.m. ET
Defense Secretary Robert Gates on Friday once again asked Congress not to repeal the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy before the Pentagon completes a review of it.

In a sharply worded letter, Gates said he believes the Defense Department must be allowed to review the potential impact of repealing the ban on openly gay service members before Congress acts.

"Our military must be afforded the opportunity to inform us of their concerns, insights and suggestions if we are to carry out this change successfully," Gates wrote in response to an inquiry from House Armed Services Committee Chairman Ike Skelton (D-Mo.).

[Read both letters below.]

Repealing the policy before the military completes its review, "would send a very damaging message to our men and women in uniform that in essence, their views, concerns and perspectives do not matter on an issue with such a direct impact and consequence for them and their families," Gates said.

The letter was co-signed by the Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman, Adm. Mike Mullen, who joined Gates in voicing personal opposition to the ban at a February Senate hearing.

Later Friday White House Spokesman Tommy Vietor said, “The President’s commitment to repealing don't ask, don't tell is unequivocal. This is not a question of if, but how. That’s why we’ve said that the implementation of any congressional repeal will be delayed until the DOD study of how best to implement that repeal is completed. The President is committed to getting this done both soon and right.”

Lawmakers -- led by Sens. Joseph I. Lieberman (I-Conn.) and Carl Levin (D-Mich.) and Rep. Patrick Murphy (D-Pa.) -- want to end the ban before the Pentagon completes its review, while others, including Skelton, are skeptical.

The Human Rights Campaign, one of several gay rights groups pushing lawmakers to act fast, said, “There is no reason that Congress cannot move forward with repeal while the Pentagon’s review of how – not if – to end the ban on open service continues apace." Activists hope to secure the support of at least 15 senators on the Armed Services Committee to get the ban included in this year's Defense Authorization Bill.

Leave your thoughts in the comments section below

Skelton letter to Gates:

Skelton Letter to Gates

Gates letter to Skelton:

Gates Letter to Skelton

By Ed O'Keefe  | April 30, 2010; 5:25 PM ET
Categories:  Congress, Workplace Issues  
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Next: Gates's 'don't ask' letter angers gay rights groups


HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAA!!!! The hoommmooos lose again. You'd think after a while they'd get tired and go away. Stupid people.

Posted by: ControlFreaks | April 30, 2010 6:18 PM | Report abuse

Good on Gates....treat the military like a corporation and they will become one. What's next? Strikes if they don't want to go to war? The military is NOT a corporation...they enforce prejudicial policies all the time for good reason: too fat, can't serve; missing a limb, can't serve; blind, can't serve...yup, being openly gay and sleeping in a two person tent, nope ain't gonna happen. If the ban gets raised, expect separate living quarters and if not, then the straight guys should be allowed to shower an sleep in the same quarters as the females. It's only fair.

Posted by: powerange | April 30, 2010 8:26 PM | Report abuse

@ControlFreaks: Do you even know a gay person? Probably don't think you do, but I guarantee that you do. And you know what? We don't want to have sex with you. You want to know something else? (Probably not, but I'm going to tell you anyway.) Being gay isn't all about sex.

@powerange: You are correct; the military is not a corporation. However, your conclusion is wrong. The military is a unit of the federal government. There is no inherent right to discriminate in this or any other unit of the federal government.

Posted by: SW-Waterfront | May 1, 2010 10:12 AM | Report abuse

Abominations obstruct military operations only if you are homophobic or allergic to shellfish.

Let’s see: eating shellfish is an “abomination” as is homosexuality, so says, biblical Leviticus rulings. Yet, we Americans cannot reject a Maine lobster tail drawn in butter.

Fact is, irregardless the Bible authority, shellfish eating is here to stay and not one person cares who eats stuffed crab or Cherrystone clams.

And, homosexuality, permanently ingrained in our human structure, is equally here to stay.

Gay bashers save your breath for other bashing; like, perhaps, adulterers. I mean, here, God devoted an entire Commandment. Better, leave peaceful peoples sexuality alone and enroll in an anger management program.

Then, the Gay community can be left in peace and our Country will be better served. Importantly, Gay bashers will have a good chance at outrunning bigotry, homophobic fear, hateful violence; and, with good anger management therapy, maybe, just maybe, control those ugly tempers.

Posted by: steveswimmer1 | May 1, 2010 10:30 AM | Report abuse

"Repealing the policy before the military completes its review, would send a very damaging message to our men and women in uniform . . ."

Oh please, how transparent. Obviously he's not referring to our gay men and women in uniform.

Posted by: seaduck2001 | May 1, 2010 11:47 AM | Report abuse

I knew a few smart gays in the military. They didn't advertise. A couple of them who came on to me apparently felt I could be trusted not to snitch, so they didn't come on a second time.

My best buddy was gay and couldn't throw a grenade, so I stood in for him so that he could graduate from basic training. It didn't occur to me at the time that he could be a liability in a firefight. The Army wanted to train him as a tank mechanic, but he said, "I don't do that," and he ended up behind a typewriter. Nowadays, too many military "experts" are behind keyboards.

Posted by: elgropo1 | May 1, 2010 11:52 AM | Report abuse

Gates shows himself to be a coward. I thought we had one of the most elite military forces in the world, but they are afraid that some openly gay man or woman will see them in the shower. Oh no, a gay looked at them, the poor delicate little flowers. I thought soldiers did as they were told. Is that not the case anymore? Are we now to coddle such childish bigots so that they don't have to know that they serve with gays? Hilarious. They already serve with gays, they just aren't sure who is gay. What a bunch of pansies the current military leadership shows itself to be. All those brave men and women frightened of gays who refuse to lie about who they are and who they love. What a sad statement about our military.

Posted by: greenmansf | May 1, 2010 12:32 PM | Report abuse

Sec. Gates needs to be forcefully reminded that he serves a president who is on the record as favoring repeal of this vile policy. So the results of the review actually are immaterial--the days of DADT are, thankfully, numbered.

He also needs to be reminded that per our Constitution, Congress has full authority to repeal the policy.

If he can't or won't accept those realities, then he should resign, period.

Posted by: DCSteve1 | May 1, 2010 1:04 PM | Report abuse

Oh, please, people. Stop blaming Gates.

This came right from the political operation in the White House with Barack Obama's approval.

His State-of-the-Union-Address promise to end DADT this year was a lie, and the White House was telling HRC within days that he had no intention of fulfilling the promise.

Blame Obama. He's the problem, not Gates.

Posted by: uh_huhh | May 1, 2010 2:19 PM | Report abuse

Gates, like Mullen, may not really care one way or the other, but too many old homophobes in high places in the Pentagon will ensure this does not happen.

Yes, Greenmansf is right, there is cowardice going on. You can see it by the letter - I don't seem to have read in history if the Secretary of War and Chairman of the Joint Staff asked and solicited comments and recommendations on the racial integration of troops. DADT will not happen anytime soon. The Department of Defense is still riddled with scared little boys who think they are so hot, some random guy is going to touch them. They can't get their wives to touch them, what makes you think some gay boi will?

Those of you who quote the bible (fairy tale) are full of it. You don't know or understand your own "good book" let alone what is in it.

Posted by: mjcc1987 | May 1, 2010 3:05 PM | Report abuse

"Uh-huhh" is right. This is political posturing from the White House to limit mid term election losses. More study?!?! That's the reasoning for delay? This issue has been studied to death since the 1950s. All the studies say gays are no problem, it's the bigotry of homophobes, and that can be minimized if the orders to integrate are clear, from the top, and swiftly implemented. [oops, missed that opportunity]

It took the army two years to even agree to implement President Truman's 1948 Executive Order 9981 to desegregate. Truman needed to say "this is an order!" The lesson this White House obviously didn't learn is that the military needs to be told "Do It Now", or else they drag their feet as lazy trembling bureaucrats tied to the status quo...and call for more studies.

Posted by: marcluxjd | May 1, 2010 3:05 PM | Report abuse

What's worse, marcluxjd, is that the White House knows that after the massive Democratic losses this fall, it probably won't be possible to pass DADT repeal. The fake "study" will be done in December, at which point Rahm Emanuel and Barack Obama can put on their fake sad faces and "oh, we're so sorry, but we no longer have the votes in Congress...and, darn, just when the study was finished and we were ready to give us all your money and re-elect us in 2012."

Posted by: uh_huhh | May 1, 2010 3:30 PM | Report abuse

Why should high ups in the DoD have a lot of influence over when OR how this policy is repealed? When it was set up as an uneasy compromise under Clinton, the main general Gulf War general, Norman Schwartzkoff said (in Congressional hearings) that letting gays serve in the military would make our forces like the crushed Iraqi army. Recently another military official argued that the inclusion of open gays in the Dutch military influenced the failure of the (all of 300 untested) Dutch peacekeepers to prevent the massacre of Bosnian Muslims at Seberinca (sorry for spelling).

In my opinion, this boils down to how homophobic ppl view gays, and this is based mostly on stereotypes. First, the stereotype that gay men are effeminate and "soft" and not fit to fight. If this were true, we would not have kicked out over 10,000 of them who have taken the risks inherent in joining our armed forces, and we all know that there are tons more serving. DADT is a policy that tries to deny the merit of our gay troops, tries to hide the fact that gays are serving and facing the same dangers as straight soldiers. The second stereotype, of course, is that the homos can't be trusted not to start humping their comrades in the night.

These are seriously the roots of this disgraceful policy. Imagine if in another age we had forced Jews, Muslims, etc. not to practice openly while serving. Or put black or Japanese soldiers in segregated units or treated them as 2nd class (oh, wait). This policy takes ppl who are willing to risk their lives in our military and explicitly insults and marginalizes them. It should be gone today.

Posted by: danielwerst | May 1, 2010 11:02 PM | Report abuse

and of course, esp as women in general are taking on so much of combat, i shouldnt marginalize them, including lesbian soldiers...just addressing what i see as the mental hangups at work here.

Posted by: danielwerst | May 1, 2010 11:11 PM | Report abuse

When I read some scared little boy like
"ControlFreak" above, I always wonder if he knows there are lots of gays in the military.

I wonder if the fear of "homos" is what keeps boys like him out of the military, or if it's just cowardice in general.

It's hard to believe anyone who is that scared of gays could be a good soldier - that takes guts.

Posted by: lquarton | May 3, 2010 11:47 PM | Report abuse

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