Senator Carl Levin ‘Can Understand the Resentment in the Gay Community’ About the ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ Troop Survey

Talking Points Memo reports that at a breakfast this morning Senator Carl Levin discussed the controversial survey sent to 400,000 troops by the Pentagon yesterday, asking them about the repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell", and said he "can understand the resentment in the gay community" over it.

Levin He also said it's important that troops understand the survey is not meant to give them "veto power" over the repeal.


Levin said during the breakfast that the surveys, which have sparked uproar in the LGBT community, are unprecedented since troops weren't asked when the military increased inclusion of women. "It's a very good idea to get the attitude of the troops on things," he said. But Levin said it's important troops do not think they have "veto power" but rather that they understand they are answering the questions to help implement the inevitable repeal of the Clinton-era policy.

"A lot depends about how the survey is worded ... [the Pentagon must] make sure they understand military leadership made a decision," he said. "[Military leaders are] asking these questions as a way to help us implement this effectively."

Levin said he hadn't yet read the survey (read the survey obtained by TPM here) and isn't yet sure it is "fair." But Levin said that he thinks the Pentagon should have asked if it's okay to discriminate against LGBT people in the first place. He said while some troops would answer they aren't comfortable showering with comrades they know to be gay or lesbian, it's unlikely many would believe their LGBT colleagues should be treated differently. He said as far as he knows, Congress was not consulted on the survey's wording.

Levin said he does not expect a filibuster of the Defense bill to which the repeal is attached, and said that any moves to strike it from the legislation would probably fail.

Yesterday, I posted a long round-up of reactions to the survey. You can read it HERE.

A short clip, AFTER THE JUMP...