Levin: DADT Repeal Will Go in Defense Bill if Votes are There
Today was the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" lobby day on Capitol hill. Hundreds of gay and lesbian veterans lobbied lawmakers to repeal the ban. Here's a photo Senator Joe Lieberman tweeted of himself with HRC President Joe Solmonese and a group of veterans.
"President Barack Obama promised in his State of the Union address that he would work with Congress and the Pentagon to repeal DADT this year. The nation’s top two defense officials spoke in favor of repeal just a few weeks later. Defense Secretary Robert Gates made clear that a new department study would look into how, not if, the repeal process could be implemented. But despite all this, the path to repeal has become cluttered in ways that only Washingtonians could rationalize. At the core of this delay seems to be a desire by the Pentagon to kick the can down the road and stop a vote on the issue this year. As Gates asserted 11 days ago in a letter to the House Armed Services Committee, nothing should be done until the implementation study is complete in December. The White House’s silence is providing oxygen to those who believe that Congress should not act this year."
A new GALLUP poll says 70% of Americans approve of allowing gays to serve openly in the military: "Included in the majority are 60 percent of Republicans, 57 percent of weekly churchgoers and strong majorities of liberals and moderates."
Senator Carl Levin said today that, if the votes are there, he's prepared to include repeal of DADT in the Defense Authorization bill, despite Defense Secretary Robert Gates' letter of last Friday:
"Gates, however, has told Congress that he would 'strongly oppose' legislating repeal before a Department of Defense review is finished in December. That won't stop Levin, who said today that he'll put repeal in the authorization bill anyway, if he can get the votes for it. He said he's not sure if the votes are there. Even so, he said repeal wouldn't go into effect until after the review is finished. 'What we ought to do is repeal it but make the effective date after the report,' Levin said today, according to Roll Call."
Chris Johnson of the Washington Blade talked to several of the veterans who lobbied at the White House yesterday.
Watch it, AFTER THE JUMP...