A bill that would withhold the cost of
implementing the “don't ask, don't tell” policy is expected to be
announced tonight by New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand at a gay
fundraiser, the New York Times reported.
Gillibrand is the keynote speaker at
Rights Campaign's (HRC) ninth annual greater New York fundraiser in
Manhattan. HRC, the nation's largest gay rights advocate,
recently endorsed Gillibrand's 2010 candidacy.
The bill seeks to deny funding to the
military for the costs of implementing the policy that bans gay
troops from serving openly in Armed Forces.
Gillibrand is expected to introduce her
proposal as an amendment to the federal budget.
The policy has come under heavy
scrutiny since President Obama called for an end to the law during
his first State of the Union address. On Tuesday, the Pentagon's top
brass – Admiral Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of
Staff, and Defense Secretary Robert Gates – told a key Senate panel
considering the issue that the military should end the policy.
The military has spent between $290
million and more than a half a billion dollars implementing its ban
on open gay service, according to a recent research
brief released by the Williams Institute at the UCLA School of Law,
a public policy institute that focuses on sexual orientation law.
Gillibrand once considered backing a
proposal that would have paused the firing of gay troops, but she
abandoned the idea after it attracted little interest.
The announcement is another sign that
Gillibrand is counting on the gay vote to help secure her Senate
In accepting her appointment to the
Senate by Governor David Paterson, Gillibrand declared her public
support for gay marriage. A move many commentators have said was
necessary to win Paterson's backing. Since then, she has become a
leading opponent in the Senate of the military's gay ban.
Gillibrand is expected to face former
Tennessee Representative Harold Ford Jr. for the Democratic
nomination. Ford, who twice voted in favor of defining marriage as a
heterosexual union in the U.S. Constitution, recently announced he
favored granting gay couples the right to marry. The
thirty-nine-year-old politician's change of heart has been widely
criticized by gay activists.
“I know a snake oil salesman when I
see one,” Empire State Pride Agenda Executive Director Alan Van
Also scheduled to appear at Saturday's
event at the Waldorf-Astoria hotel in Manhattan are actresses Sarah
Jessica Parker and Bebe Neuwirth.