Arizona Senator John McCain says the
military ban on open gay service is not a civil rights issue.
“No. No, I don't,” McCain answered
when asked “Do you see it as some have put it as a civil rights
“As Colin Powell said when 'don't
ask, don't tell' was first inaugurated, there's a difference between
sexual preference and the color of one's skin. That was General
Powell's statement,” he added.
While McCain acknowledged that Powell
has since come out in support of repeal of “don't ask, don't tell,”
the law that prescribes discharge for gay troops who do not remain
celibate or closeted, he added: “I don't think he views it now as a
civil rights issue, though.”
The 73-year-old McCain made his remarks
during a wide-ranging interview in the Arizona
McCain, the ranking
Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee, has said he
believes the policy is working and should remain.
When asked if he
had sought out the opinion of gay troops in making his conclusion,
McCain answered that that would be “nuts.”
“I make that
determination by retention and recruitment is at an all-time high,
the highest in the history of the all-volunteer force,” he said.
“I get that opinion because I visit with the troops all the time.
I go to Iraq, I go to Afghanistan, I run into them everywhere. And
of course I don't seek out someone who is gay. Why should I? These
are all men and women who are serving. Why should I, that would be
McCain also stated
his support for a review of the ban: “I'm not going to deal and
hypotheticals as to what would come out. But the fact is that I want
to review and then I will make a decision from there. I don't know
what the review will say, I don't know what they will be about. And
I just have to tell you that I engage in a lot of hypotheticals.”
convinced that it is working and has worked well,” he added.