Pentagon to meet with gay partners of some troops
Updated 4:50 p.m. ET
Members of a Pentagon working group reviewing a potential repeal of the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy will meet next month with the gay and lesbian partners of some troops.
Servicemembers United, one of the nation's largest groups for gay and lesbian troops, said Thursday that it will host the first meeting ever between military officials and gay partners on Sept. 16.
Senior members of the working group will attend the meeting, said Servicemembers United Executive director Alex Nicholson. The military asked the group not to disclose the exact time and location of the meeting to ensure the security and confidentiality of the partners in attendance, Nicholson said.
"The meeting will enable [the partners] to provide their perspectives on the topic of repeal of DADT, should it occur," said Pentagon spokeswoman Cynthia Smith. "This engagement is consistent with our comprehensive approach to this review."
"We have been pushing for partner input into the review process for quite some time," Nicholson said. "We are glad that the Pentagon recognizes the value of input from these silent heroes."
The review of the potential repeal of "don't ask, don't tell" is due by Dec. 1 to President Obama, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen. The group is also surveying the spouses of military service members and last month sent a similar survey to about 400,000 active duty and reserve troops. About 115,000 of the troops replied to the survey, according to the Pentagon.
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