Defense Secretary Robert Gates will
testify Tuesday at a Senate committee hearing looking into repeal of
the military's ban on open gay service, CNN reported.
Pentagon press secretary Geoff Morrell
confirmed the appearance: “The Defense Department leadership is
actively working on an implementation and the secretary will have
more to say about this next week.”
According to the Senate Armed Services
Committee website, an hour has been scheduled to discuss the issue at
Tuesday's hearing on the Defense Authorization Request for Fiscal
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
During President Obama's first State of
the Union address he said he would work with Congress and the
Pentagon to repeal the law.
Gates, however, has previously said he
supports altering the law to make it “more humane,” not repeal
In July, Gates questioned the need to
take action against service members when they've been outed out of
vengeance or after being jilted.
“If someone is outed by a third party
… does that force us to take an action?” he asked.
“That's the kind of thing we're
looking at to see if there's a more humane way to apply the law until
the law gets changed,” Gates added.
In previous speeches, Obama has used
the word “change” to describe his position on the issue.
However, during Wednesday's address he once again called for repeal
of the law.
Republicans, however, remain committed
to the law. Arizona Senator John McCain, a member of the committee,
has called the policy “successful.”
“At a time when our Armed Forces are
fighting and sacrificing on the battlefield, now is not the time to
abandon the policy,” McCain said in a statement released
immediately after the president's call for an end to the law.
“It would be a mistake to think this
law is working,” Aubrey Sarvis, executive director of
Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (SLDN), a group that lobbies for
repeal of the law, responded in a statement. “No law or policy is
successful if it hurts military readiness at a time of two wars.”
Michigan Senator Carl Levin, chairman
of the committee, is expected to hold a full hearing on repeal
legislation sometime in February.