Michigan Senator Carl Levin said
Tuesday he'll include “Don't Ask, Don't Tell” repeal in this
year's Defense Authorization bill, and defy a Pentagon request to
The Senate Armed Services Committee
chairman said he's prepared to include repeal language of the policy
that bans gay troops from serving openly in the defense budget if
he can get the votes for it. Both sides of Congress are expected
to act on next year's budget this month.
Defense Secretary Robert Gates and
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen wrote to
the House Armed Services Committee and urged its chairman, Missouri
Representative Ike Skelton, to hold off on repeal until their study
The men said they “strongly oppose”
legislating repeal before the Pentagon has completed its review of
the policy due in December.
President Barrack Obama promised he
would back repeal of the policy this year during his first State of
the Union address in January. The president has since reversed
course, saying he supports holding off on repeal until after the
study is complete.
Repeal supporters have accused the
president of punting repeal until 2013.
“If repeal doesn't happen this
calendar year, it is unlikely to pass until after the next
presidential election,” Dr. Aaron Belkin, director of the Palm
Center, a group that supports repeal, said.
But Levin added that the legislation
would take effect after the Pentagon has completed its review.
“What we ought to do is repeal it but
make the effective date after the report,” Levin told Roll
The strategy is supported by the
Defense Network (SLDN), the largest group lobbying for repeal.
On Sunday, Howard
Dean, the former chairman of the Democratic National Committee,
called on the president to take action this year.
In an open letter released Saturday,
Dean says he is in agreement with gay rights advocates who are
concerned that the Department of Defense could “indefinitely delay
the possibility of moving forward with the repeal of DADT until the
Pentagon completes a review of the policy.”
“Americans clearly understand that if
someone is brave enough to take a bullet for the USA, then they
should have the same equal rights guaranteed to every American under
the law – whether they are serving in the military, or when they
come home,” he added.