General David Patraeus, the commander
of the U.S. military forces in the Middle East and South Asia, has said
he supports the Pentagon's internal review looking into the effects
of repealing “don't ask, don't tell,” the 1993 law that bans gay
troops from serving openly.
“The time has come” for the
military to reconsider the policy, Patraeus testified at a Senate
Armed Services Committee hearing Tuesday.
The four-star Army general is the
latest military official to announce support for reconsideration of
the policy that prescribes discharge as the remedy for gay and
lesbian service members who do not remain celibate or closeted.
Earlier in the month, Connecticut
Senator Joe Lieberman introduced a Senate bill that would repeal the
law. Lieberman, an Independent, has become an outspoken ally of
repeal in the Senate. His bill enjoys the support of Michigan
Senator Carl Levin, a Democrat and chairman of the Senate Armed
Services Committee, where the bill will most likely be heard. The
committee's ranking Republican is Arizona Senator John McCain, who
has become the Republican face of opposition to repeal in the Senate.
A House version of the bill was
introduced last year and has attracted 189 cosponsors. Pennsylvania
Representative Patrick Murphy, a Democrat, took over sponsorship of
the measure after California Representative Ellen Tauscher accepted
an appointment in the Obama administration.
The Pentagon's top brass, including
Defense Secretary Roberts Gates and Admiral Mike Mullen, chairman of
the Joint Chiefs, have publicly announced they support President
Obama's pledge to end the policy, but service chiefs from the various
armed forces have testified against repeal or have expressed