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First DADT Hearings In a Decade Scheduled for February

01/28/10-by Bridgette P. LaVictoire
Senator Carl Levin has scheduled the initial hearings regarding Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’s repeal. The Michigan Democrat is the chairman of the Armed Services Committee. According to DC Agenda, Carl Levin stated “We’re going to have our hearing on the budget on Tuesday with Secretary Gates and Chairman Mullen, and then after that hearing is over on Tuesday, we’re going to move to a hearing with Gates and Mullen on ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.’” The hearings regarding Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell will happen separately from the budget hearing. It is possible that, at this time, the Pentagon will propose their “way forward” regarding the repeal of DADT.

Pentagon Press Secretary Geoff Morrell stated “The secretary and the chairman have and will continue to work on an implementation plan, and we’ll be able to share (details) with you early next week.” This likely means that the implementation plan will be brought forward at these hearings on Tuesday. The Senate Armed Services Committee has already scheduled a one hour block beginning at noon to hear testimony regarding DADT.

Previously, Senator Levin stated that he had been asked by the White House to delay scheduling testimony regarding DADT until after the State of the Union, and the 2 February date certainly pushes this issue into the next month. Senator Levin had, originally, planned on beginning hearings the last week in January.

During Obama’s State of the Union, he, once again, restated his opposition to DADT. “This year, I will work with Congress and our military to finally repeal the law that denies gay Americans the right to serve the country they love because of who they are.” While his statement is a reiteration of the campaign promise that he made in 2008, many LGBT Americans are far less willing to hear that he will take care of it and want him to take bold action regarding it. “The time for broad statements is over. The time to get down to business is overdue. We wish we had heard him speak of concrete steps tonight,” Rea Carey of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force stated.

Richard Socarides, an adviser to President Bill Clinton, said “In 1999, Bill Clinton became the first president ever to talk about gay rights in a State of the Union address. Eleven years later, not much has changed.
He went on to say that a moratorium on the expulsions under this law is necessary.

In house advisers to Admiral Mike Mullen stated that they did not think that changing the law right now would be wise given that the military is fighting two wars. Some would say that the very reason why the policy needs to be scrapped now has to do with the fact that the military is fighting two wars.

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