Wall Street Journal: The Big Issue: “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”
By Danny Yadron and Patrick O’Connor
Supporters of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” the Pentagon policy that prevents gays from serving openly in the military, spent much of the congressional debate hectoring critics of the policy to wait for a Department of Defense study gauging the attitudes of active-duty military.
Now that the report is being unveiled today, some who want to keep the policy in place are questioning its results. Information from the report obtained by the Washington Post indicated about 70% of armed service members had no problem with including gays in their units.
“I’d like to know who these 70% are,” said Rep. Buck McKeon of California, the top Republican on the House Armed Services Committee. “I’m doing everything I can to defeat it.” Sen. John McCain (R., Ariz.), Senate’s the chief opponent of integrating homosexuals into the military, voiced similar concerns on television this weekend. A spokesman for Sen. Richard Lugar (R., Ind.), one of a few Republicans yet to declare his how he plans to vote on a measure to lift the policy, said his boss is waiting for the official report.
The House passed a measure to repeal the policy this spring, but Senate Republicans in September blocked a defense spending bill that included a repeal.
It’s unclear if any of that will change after today’s announcement. Sen. Susan Collins, a centrist Republican from Maine who says she wants the ban repealed, still plans to vote against the repeal if there is not more time for debate, her spokesman said Monday.
The Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, an advocacy group for gay troops, said it is already making plans to move the battle back to the courts this December. The group said it will file a lawsuit to have gay troops reinstated should the measure fail. A similar lawsuit is currently in federal appeals court.
“We will keep the pressure up with our allies in the courts,” said Aubrey Sarvis, the SLDN’s executive director. “Repeal advocates are not going away if this doesn’t happen in the lame duck.”