Scott Brown, Susan Collins Endorse DADT Repeal
The possibility of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell repeal seems to be coming more likely now that the Pentagon report is out.
Today, Scott Brown became the first Republican to announce that he now supports repealing the policy:
Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.) has announced his support for legislation that would permit the repeal of the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy banning openly gay service members, making him the second Republican to go on record in favor of conditional repeal language attached to a pending defense budget bill.
“I have been in the military for 31 years and counting, and have served as a subordinate and as an officer. … When a soldier answers the call to serve and risks life or limb, it has never mattered to me whether they are gay or straight. My only concern has been whether their service and sacrifice is with pride and honor,” Brown said after two days of Senate Armed Services Committee hearings on “don’t ask” and a Defense Department study of how repeal could be implemented.
“Having reviewed the Pentagon report, having spoken to active and retired military service members, and having discussed the matter privately with Defense Secretary [Robert] 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,” the Massachusetts senator said.
Brown was joined a few hours later by Maine’s Susan Collins:
Following the conclusion of today’s Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on the military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy, Senator Susan Collins released this statement:
“Like our closest allies, the United States’ Armed Forces should welcome the service of any qualified individual who is willing and capable of serving our country.
“After hearing powerful testimony from Secretary of Defense Gates and Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mullen, and reviewing the results of the Pentagon report, I remain convinced that the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy,” implemented under President Clinton, should be repealed. And, I agree with Secretary Gates that the issue should be decided by Congress, not the courts.
“As a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, I voted, last May, to include in the Defense Authorization bill language repealing Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, subject to certification by the Secretary of Defense and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff that there would not be a negative impact on combat effectiveness and military readiness. It is especially reassuring to learn from the Pentagon report that, after extensive interviews and feedback from service members, nearly 70 percent say that having a gay service member in their unit would have a “positive, mixed, or no effect” on the unit’s effectiveness.
“Once the tax issue is resolved, I have made it clear that if the Majority Leader brings the Defense Authorization bill to the floor with sufficient time allowed for debate and amendments, I would vote to proceed to the bill.”
As Collins’s statement indicates, there are still procedural hurdles that could derail the repeal effort, but we’re at the point now where we’re essentially only two more Yes votes away from repealing Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.