Main | Thursday, January 14, 2010

Military Lawyers: Wait On DADT Repeal

Pentagon lawyers are recommending at least a year's delay before beginning work on the repeal of DADT. That could push a vote by Congress back until the middle of the 2012 elections, a time when many would be hesitant to support the repeal.
"Now is not the time," the in-house legal counsel for Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, wrote recently in a memorandum obtained by The Associated Press. "The importance of winning the wars we are in, along with the stress on the force, our body of knowledge and the number of unknowns, demand that we act with deliberation." Mullen received the conflicting advice this month about whether to move quickly to lift the 1993 ban, and it is not clear what he will recommend to President Barack Obama. Although allowing gays to serve openly in the military was one of Obama's campaign promises, the issue was put on a back burner during his first year in office. Some liberal supporters and several congressional Democrats are pushing for action.
However on Tuesday Democratic leaders indicated that a repeal could be added to a coming defense authorization bill. Unnamed sources say the White House has told the Defense Department that the president supports that action.
"People have said publicly and privately that this is a good place for repeal to be placed," said one Democratic aide on the Hill. "It would be reasonable to expect that repeal might be in this year's defense authorization... But we aren't assuming anything yet."

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