Senator Carl Levin will schedule a
hearing on repeal of the military's ban on open gay service in
January, Stars and Stripes reported.
Levin, chairman of the Senate Armed
Services Committee, told reporters on Thursday that both Defense
Secretary Robert Gates and Joint Chiefs Chairman Admiral Mike Mullen
will be called to testify at the hearing, but refused to provide
Last fall, both chambers of Congress
postponed hearings on the issue. Levin, a Democrat from Michigan,
said the Fort Hood shootings would take precedence.
The policy, also known as “don't ask,
don't tell,” is the 1993 law that prohibits gay and lesbian service
members from revealing their sexuality at the risk of losing their
President Obama promised gay activists
attending an October fundraiser that he would end the policy.
“I will end 'don't ask, don't tell,'”
Obama said. “That is my commitment to you.”
Legislation to repeal the law was
introduced in the House last March by California Representative Ellen
Tauscher, who has since been replaced by John Garamendi after she was
tapped by President Obama to serve as Under Secretary of State for
Arms Control and International Security Affairs. Since then,
Pennsylvania Representative Patrick Murphy, an Iraq war veteran, has
championed the bill. One-hundred-eighty-seven representatives have
signed on as co-sponsors of the bill, according to a congressional
website. An official bill has yet to be introduced in the Senate,
but Connecticut Senator Joseph Lieberman is widely expected to
sponsor such a bill.
Prevailing thinking on the bill is that
Democrats will not attempt to pass a freestanding bill but are more
likely to tuck it into next year's military spending bill in the
fall. That strategy has been used in the past to approve contentious
measures, including last year's hate crimes bill.