Sunday, February 01, 2009

Obama seeks assessment on gays in military

No rush to repeal 'don't ask, don't tell'
By Bryan Bender
Globe Staff
February 1, 2009

WASHINGTON - The Obama administration is telling the Pentagon and gay-rights advocates that it will have to study the implications for national security and enlist more support in Congress before trying to overturn the so-called "don't ask, don't tell" law and allow gays to serve openly in the military, according to people involved in the discussions.

They said Obama, who pledged during the campaign to overturn the law, does not want to ask lawmakers to do so until the military has completed a comprehensive assessment of the impact that such a move would have on military discipline. Then, the president hopes to be able to make a case to members of both parties that overturning the 1993 law would be in the best interest of national security.

Obama is hoping to avoid the missteps of the Clinton administration when it tried to open the ranks to gays and lesbians, only to be confronted by fierce resistance from lawmakers and commanders. Early in his presidency, Bill Clinton signed an order allowing gays to serve but was forced to back off. A compromise made it illegal for gays to serve openly, but also restricted investigations into service members' sexual behavior. the rest

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