Massachusetts Senator Scott Brown broke
from his GOP caucus on Friday to conditionally endorse repeal of the
military's ban on open gay service.
announcement came after the Senate Armed Services Committee concluded
two day's worth of hearings on a Pentagon report that endorsed
“I pledged to keep an open mind about
the present policy on 'Don’t Ask Don’t Tell,'” Brown said in a
statement released on his website. “Having reviewed the Pentagon
report, having spoken to active and retired military service members,
and having discussed the matter privately with Defense Secretary
Gates and others, I accept the findings of the report and support
repeal based on the Secretary’s recommendations that repeal will be
implemented only when the battle effectiveness of the forces is
assured and proper preparations have been completed.”
Aubrey Sarvis, executive director of
Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (SLDN), the largest group
lobbying for repeal of the law that has ended the military careers of
over 13,000 service members, said he welcomed Brown's endorsement.
“We welcome Senator Brown's comments
supporting the repeal of 'Don't Ask' and the findings of the Pentagon
report which showed 92% of service members are just fine working with
their gay, lesbian and bisexual colleagues,” he said.
Other Republicans who say they could
back repeal of the law include Senators Susan Collins and Olympia
Snowe of Maine, Richard Lugar of Indiana, Lisa
Murkowski of Alaska and John Ensign of Nevada. Illinois
Senator Mark Kirk has said he'll study the Pentagon report before
all 42 GOP senators have threatened to block all legislation during
the lame-duck session unless Democrats agree to move on tax issues.