Gates tepidly backs 'don't ask' compromise
Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates expressed tepid support for the "don't ask, don't tell" compromise on Tuesday -- a critical move despite its less-than enthusiastic nature.
"Secretary Gates continues to believe that ideally the DOD review should be completed before there is any legislation to repeal the Don't Ask Don't Tell law," Pentagon spokesman Geoff Morrell said in a statement. "With Congress having indicated that is not possible, the secretary can accept the language in the proposed amendment."
Gates had wanted Congress to wait to vote on a repeal until the military completes a study of how to integrate openly gay and lesbian service members, due to Congress on Dec. 1. Several moderate lawmakers have resisted taking a position on repeal until the White House and Pentagon weighed in.
Last night's White House endorsement and Gates's statement Tuesday morning should clear the way for votes Thursday in the House on the overall spending bill, which Democrats expect will include an amendment by Rep. Patrick Murphy (D-Pa.) to end the gay ban. The same day, the Senate Armed Services Committee will vote on its version of the spending bill, and Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman (I-Conn.) will introduce the same repeal language.
Murphy, an Iraq war veteran, said in an interview Tuesday that he has the votes to pass his measure as an amendment to the annual defense spending bill.
A new CNN poll also finds that nearly eight in 10 American support allowing openly gay people to serve in the military.
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| May 25, 2010; 11:15 AM ET
Categories: Administration, Workplace Issues
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