Repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell Expected, But Not Embraced

By Daisy Hernandez May 26, 2010

Obama and Congressional Democrats have come to an agreement with military officials that might lead to a repeal the “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” policy later this week. But, Lt. Dan Choi, who was ousted from the military for coming out, says the new deal falls short since it doesn’t include protections for gays and lesbians who are serving in the military. “Discrimination is at the heart of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ and nobody is saying when soldiers get to tell the truth, no one is saying when their integrity will be restored,” he told Newsweek. The repeal’s expected to come in the form of an amendment to next year’s defense authorization bill, which the House votes on later this week. The 17-year-old policy though won’t be completely rolled back until after December when the Pentagon finishes its review, including sending a survey out to 70,000 troops and their families asking for their input. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates has been supportive of repealing the policy but he’s not happy with the new timeline and according to CBS that might kill the whole deal. Gates wanted Congress to vote on it after the Pentagon got done with its review, but House Speaker Nancy Pelosi apparently said no go (probably because like everyone else she’s expecting a loss of Dem votes with midterm elections in the fall). From the Pentagon statement: "with Congress having indicated that is not possible [to wait for the review], the secretary can accept the language in the proposed amendment." Now for the nitty gritty: According to Roxana Tiron at The Hill, the amendment has 192 sponsors in the House, which isn’t enough to get it passed but Obama and Gates’s support could sway members sitting on the fence. Over in the Senate, the amendment might get added to the bill before it reaches the Senate floor to avoid a showdown. Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates and Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff address the media during a press conference at the Pentagon. (DoD photo by Chad J. McNeeley)