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Gates tepidly backs 'don't ask' compromise

By Ed O'Keefe

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.

Leave your thoughts in the comments section below

By Ed O'Keefe  | May 25, 2010; 11:15 AM ET
Categories:  Administration, Workplace Issues  
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Next: Chat With The Eye: 'don't ask, don't tell'; BP oil spill; Sheetz and BBQ Fritos


Every other post is about DADT. Is Mr. O'Keefe going to enlist when it's gone?

Posted by: jiji1 | May 25, 2010 11:32 AM | Report abuse

Yea for Rep. Patrick Murphy!! I participated in his first election effort & his reelection. I'm glad I did. He is one politician that delivers on what he promises.

Posted by: HarryR | May 25, 2010 12:08 PM | Report abuse

I served under DADT-retired after serving 21 yrs in the NAVY Reserve, including Desert Storm and Iraqi Freedom, and nothing happened to the Navy because I am gay. Thanks Mr. President, Members of Congress and Mr. Gates for taking this discriminatory law from the books!

Posted by: DCBoricua | May 25, 2010 12:30 PM | Report abuse

Since when is a study needed to end discrimination?

Posted by: SaysEye | May 25, 2010 12:57 PM | Report abuse

Didn't realize that the Secretary of Defense was in charge of the government.

It's shameful how gay men and women are used (some are known to be gay) in the forces then spat out when no longer required.

What would happen if all the 66,000 gay service people suddenly came out? It would be nice if some of the straight men and women came out with the gay ones. Show them that no one cares anymore.

Posted by: CGDB | May 25, 2010 1:01 PM | Report abuse

Gates' announcement of "tepid" consent itself violates DoD's own studies that state that repeal must assertive, straightforward and clearly supported right from the top in order for the repeal to proceed smoothly. He's sabotaging his own study's recommendations. The DoD has studied this since the 1950s. All studies show the same thing: it's all about rank prejudice. However, the DoD has a good track record of mitigating prejudice if it starts with a clear message from the top. Oops. It seems like Gates blew that first step.

Posted by: marcluxjd | May 25, 2010 4:18 PM | Report abuse

Secretary of Defense Gates: Sir, better you should resign than acquiesce to lascivious conduct in the military, be it homosexual or heterosexual. Our country needs moral leaders who will stand for that God in whom we trust, in this the approximately 2010th year of our Lord Jesus Christ. God bless and guide you.

Posted by: 1Cor6v9-10 | May 26, 2010 1:51 AM | Report abuse

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