Tags: obama | dont | ask | dont | tel

Obama to End Military's 'Don't Ask' Policy

Wednesday, 14 Jan 2009 08:59 PM

President-elect Barack Obama is planning to overturn the military policy that bans openly gay men and women from serving in the military, his spokesman said on a video that emerged Wednesday night.

If true, Obama will be wading into the very same controversy that hindered the last Democrat to serve as president, Bill Clinton. The surprising proclamation emerged on an overlooked YouTube posted Friday on Obama’s Web site, Change.gov.

Responding to a posted question from Lansing, Michigan asking if Obama would get rid of the "don't ask, don't tell" policy, spokesman Robert Gibbs, one of Obama’s closest advisers, looked into the camera and said: "You don't hear politicians give a one-word answer much. But it's 'Yes.'"

That answer confirmed what supporters of the current policy fear: that an Obama administration will seek to implement new codes of conduct just as American men and women are busy fighting two wars.

[Editor’s Note: See “Military Opposes Obama’s Pro-Gay Stance”- Go Here Now]

When pressed on Wednesday, Gibbs responded: "There are many challenges facing our nation now and the president-elect is focused first and foremost on jump-starting this economy.”

"So not everything will get done in the beginning but he's committed to following through" with ending the policy against being openly gay in the military.”

During the presidential campaign, Obama said he would work to end the policy – which bans military recruiters or authorities from asking someone about his or her sexual preference, but also prohibits a service member from revealing if he or she is gay. But because federal law dictates the policy, Obama cannot end “don’t ask” unilaterally.

Congress must pass legislation to change the policy, first put into place at the beginning of the Clinton administration. Clinton himself later tried to overturn the "don't ask, don't tell," but the military leadership strenuously opposed him.

In a few weeks, Rep. Ellen Tauscher, D-Calif., will reopen the issue by re-introducing legislation to repeal the 1993 law. In the last Congress, Rep. Martin Meehan, D-Mass., introduced a bill that would have implemented "a policy of nondiscrimination on the basis of sexual orientation." The bill had 149 co-sponsors, but it never came up for a full vote in the House. It has yet to be re-introduced in the new Congress, which began last week.

[Editor’s Note: See “Military Opposes Obama’s Pro-Gay Stance”- Go Here Now]

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