White House Press Secretary Robert
Gibbs has joined Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Admiral Mike
Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, in warning that
failure to legislatively repeal “Don't Ask, Don't Tell” during the
lame-duck session would leave courts to decide the issue.
“Do this legislatively, which
provides an avenue with which to implement the policy,” Gibbs told
reporters on Monday. “A court doing this is not likely to provide
the Pentagon and others with
a pathway for doing this.” (The video is embedded in the right
panel of this page.)
Gates repeated a similar warning on
Sunday: “If this law is going to change, it's better to be changed
by legislation rather than have it struck down by the courts.”
Also on Sunday, Mullen echoed a similar
sentiment: “The courts are very active on this. And my concern is
that at some point in time the courts could change this law and in
that not give us the right amount of time to implement it.”
A federal appeals court in California
will consider a lower court's ruling that declared unconstitutional
the law that bans gay and bisexual troops from serving openly. The
also reinstated the policy after U.S.
District Judge Virginia Phillips ordered the government to stop
The Senate's Democratic leadership has
pledged to vote on a defense bill that includes language that would
repeal the law after the Thanksgiving break. Hearings to consider a
Pentagon report on how to implement repeal have also been scheduled.
According to the Washington Post,
the report, which
is to be released a day earlier than previously announced, is
expected to show a majority of service members are okay with serving
and living alongside openly gay troops.
Repeal backers are optimistic that the
report will convince undecided senators to vote for repeal.