Secretary of Defense Robert Gates
reiterated on Saturday his support for Congress to repeal “Don't
Ask, Don't Tell” during its upcoming lame-duck session, American
Forces Press Service reported.
Gates made his comments while speaking
to reporters en route to Australia-U.S. defense and diplomatic
meetings in Melbourne.
“I would like to see the repeal of
'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' but I'm not sure what the prospects for that
are,” Gates said.
Opponents of the policy that bans gay
and bisexual service members from serving openly and which has ended
the military careers of more than 13,000 service members in its
17-year history are lobbying Congress to take a second look at repeal
before new members take their seats in January.
President Barack Obama said he sees an
opportunity to repeal the ban after the Pentagon delivers its study
on repeal, which includes a survey of how troops and their families
feel about the issue. The study is due on the president's desk on
December 1. “That will give us time to act, potentially, during
the lame-duck session to change this policy,” he said Wednesday
during his post-election news conference.
Opponents of lifting the ban chided the
president for pressing ahead with repeal after Tuesday's election
“When it comes to the homosexual
agenda, the American people could not be clearer,” Tony Perkins,
president of the Family Research Council (FRC), the Christian-based
group that opposes repeal, said.
Republicans will take over control of
the House in January, and increase their numbers in the Senate,
making repeal much more difficult. Arizona
Senator John McCain has already pledged to filibuster any attempt at
repealing the Clinton-era policy.