The San Francisco Chronicle is
reporting that Democrat Ellen Tauscher will begin a renewed push to
end the 16-year-old ban against gay men and lesbians serving openly
in the military.
The California Representative is
expected to introduce legislation that would end the discriminatory
law that discharges service members who do not remain quiet about
their sexuality or do not remain celibate.
Democrats held hearings on the issue
last summer, but have never put the issue up for a vote due a
threatened Bush administration veto.
President Obama has pledged his support
in repealing the law and gay rights groups have made it a top
But last month, the Boston Globe
quoted Obama saying that the administration would wait for a Pentagon
assessment on the issue before moving forward.
Aubrey Sarvis, the president of
Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (SLDN), a group that advocates
for the repeal of the military's gay ban, called that
Washington-speak for “let's just kick this down the road a ways”
in a Huffington Post editorial.
“We do not need another report to
tell us what we already know and what earlier reports have long since
concluded: The sexual orientation of a service member is irrelevant,”
Sarvis wrote. “What is relevant is how he or she does the job.”
The gay ban – known as “don't ask,
don't tell” – was implemented in 1993 by President Bill Clinton,
who promised gay groups he would end a military prohibition on gay
and lesbian service. But Clinton instituted the “don't ask”
compromise instead, after facing fierce resistance from lawmakers and
top Pentagon brass to his plan.
In November, over 104 retired generals
and admirals released a joint statement calling for an end to the
military's gay ban on open service, including Admiral Charles Larson,
a four-star admiral and two-time superintendent of the U.S. Naval
Academy who supported the ban in 1993.
Responding to proponents of the gay ban
who say openly gay service members would “sexualize” the
military, Larson said, “[L]et's enforce high standards for personal
and human behavior for everyone.”