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Pentagon Asks Congress to Wait on Repealing 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell'

4 years ago
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The Pentagon has asked Congress to wait before lifting the ban on gays serving openly in the military, while officials gauge the potential impact on service members.

In a letter Friday to the House Armed Services Committee, Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Mike Mullen said forcing policy changes on the military before it's ready would be a mistake, The Associated Press reported.

"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 and Mullen wrote to the committee's chairman, Rep. Ike Skelton (D-Mo).

Gates has said he supports repealing the 1993 law, known as "don't ask, don't tell." He has ordered a study that will investigate if housing arrangements should be changed and whether gay partners would be allowed military benefits. It is due in December.

If Congress acts before then, "it would send a very damaging message to our men and women in uniform that in essence their views, concerns and perspectives do not matter," he and Mullen wrote.

Gay rights advocates were quick to protest Friday's letter.

Joe Solmonese, president of the Human Rights Campaign, told the AP that if Congress doesn't act this year it would send the message to gay troops that "the impact on them and their families does not matter to the military leadership, including their commander in chief."

President Obama has said "don't ask, don't tell" unfairly punishes patriotic Americans and asked Congress to repeal it.

Filed Under: Gay Rights, Congress, Military

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