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Ben Nelson backs 'don't ask' compromise

By Ed O'Keefe

Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.) said Wednesday that he will vote to support the compromise legislation that repeals the military's ban on gay service members.

The moderate Democrat's support appears to give proponents the 15 of 28 committee votes they say they need to add the repeal as an amendment to the annual defense spending bill.

“I don’t believe that most Nebraskans want to continue a policy that not only encourages but requires people to be deceptive and to lie," Nelson said, adding later that the current ban "encourages suspicion and senior officers to look the other way. In a military which values honesty and integrity, this policy encourages deceit."

Nelson said he will back the compromise advanced by Sens. Joseph I. Lieberman (I-Conn.) and Carl M. Levin (D-Mich.) and Rep. Patrick J. Murphy (D-Pa.) because it bases implementation of a repeal on the Pentagon's ongoing review. The three lawmakers scored a White House endorsement for their plan on Monday.

"We are increasingly confident about the Lieberman compromise and that this could very well be a historic week in the United States Congress," said Lieberman spokesman Marshall Wittmann.

Gay rights groups thanked Nelson for his support but cautioned that the vote count could change hour by hour. Ben Nelson joins Bill Nelson (D-Fla.), Evan Bayh (D-Ind.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine), three other senators who were awaiting guidance from the White House before making a decision. Two others, James Webb (D-Va.) and Scott Brown (R-Mass.), plan to vote against repeal.

Leave your thoughts in the comments section below.

By Ed O'Keefe  | May 26, 2010; 12:52 PM ET
Categories:  Congress  
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Nelson is right. You can say, "Soldiers don't want to serve with gays." But the point is, they ARE serving with gays right now. They're not protected from that. If you really don't want them to serve with gays, outlaw gays in the military, like pre-Clinton. But no-one is proposing that today. So the only thing DADT does is turn some of the soldiers into liars. Dumb. Time to repeal it.

Posted by: Dan4 | May 26, 2010 3:58 PM | Report abuse

It is time to repeal this Don't Ask, Don't Tell Law. This law requires soldiers to deceive others, and that's not fair, nor good conduct. Our great country is supposed to be based on freedom and equality, and this Don't Ask, Don't Tell law does not promote freedom or equality. This terrible Don't Ask, Don't Tell law is based on bigotry, and it's time to take a stand. We must stand up for freedom and equality. We must repeal this Don't Ask, Don't Tell law.

Posted by: EqualityNow | May 26, 2010 6:56 PM | Report abuse

these democratic politicians have no idea how many veterans and their family members vote.they will in november.

Posted by: SISSD1 | May 27, 2010 10:37 AM | Report abuse

these democratic politicians have no idea how many veterans and their family members vote.they will in november.

Posted by: SISSD1 | May 27, 2010 10:37 AM | Report abuse


Sorry SISSY- but many of them, like myself, served many long honorable years in the military, and should be honored for our service, - not judged by the likes of old white men like yourself.
You see, things are changing in this country. The more willing, hardworking young men and women who want to SERVE their country should be allowed to do so.

otherwise how open and free and honorable is anyones service if they don't serve the WHOLE NATION

Posted by: racerdoc | May 27, 2010 3:06 PM | Report abuse

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