President Obama is likely to discuss
the military's ban on open gay service during his State of the Union
address on Wednesday, a senior lawmaker told reporters Monday.
Senator Carl Levin, chairman of the
Senate Armed Services Committee, previously stated that both Defense
Secretary Robert Gates and Joint Chiefs Chairman Admiral Mike Mullen
would be called to testify during a January Senate hearing on repeal
of the ban.
“We were told by the Pentagon that
they expected the president to say something in the State of the
Union on it,” Levin, a Democrat from Michigan, told reporters,
Reuters reported. Obama will give the annual speech on
Wednesday during a joint session of the U.S. Congress.
Levin, however, added: “I have no
idea” what Obama will say.
The Senate hearing, which was pushed
back in the fall to concentrate on investigating the Fort Hood
shootings, will likely be held in early February, Levin told
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.”
Previously, activists working to repeal
the ban suggested Obama could end the policy with an executive order.
But Obama has already dismissed the idea, saying he was looking for
a “durable” solution.
While Levin supports repeal of the
military gay ban, his House counterpart, Armed Services Committee
Chairman Ike Skelton, a Democrat from Missouri, does not.