House Republicans on Friday showed
their disapproval with repeal of “Don't Ask, Don't Tell” at a
committee hearing, during which Pentagon leaders said the military
would be prepared for implementation by summer's end, CNN reported.
Clifford Stanley, the undersecretary of
defense for personnel and readiness, told members of a House Armed
Services subcommittee that “Implementing repeal embodies that view
of total force readiness – more simply put – it is about respect.
… no matter their race, color, creed, religion or sexual
“My focus is total force readiness,
caring for our people and creating a culture of relevance,
effectiveness and efficiency,” Stanley said.
After a bitter debate last year,
Congress approved and President Barack Obama singed into law a bill
that repeals the Clinton-era law that bans gay and bisexual troops
from serving openly. But implementation won't begin until 60 days
after Pentagon leaders and the president certify that the military is
ready for the change.
Republicans on the panel criticized the
move, embracing the view that repealing the policy at a time when the
nation was at war was a mistake.
Missouri Rep. Vicky Hartzler called the
“I'm very concerned that in a time of
war … that we are making such a radical major shift in our policy,”
After the Obama administration
announced it would no longer defend in court the Defense of Marriage
Act (DOMA), a law that bans federal agencies from recognizing the
marriages of gay and lesbian couples, because the administration
believes parts of the law are unconstitutional, Hartzler
sponsored a bill that would force it to do so.
Rep. Mike Coffman of Colorado said open
gay service would undermine the military mission.
“I think this is a political decision
obviously made by the executive branch and the military will follow it
under whatever circumstances and ramifications it has to the combat
effectiveness to our forces,” Coffman said.
Freshman Rep. Austin Scott of Georgia
predicted an exodus of troops from the military.