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Lieberman Announces New Legislation to Repeal 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell'

Joe Lieberman

Connecticut Sen. Joe Lieberman

Sen. Joe Lieberman announced Wednesday that he's introducing legislation to repeal a ban on openly gay people serving in the military, arguing that "don't ask, don't tell" is both discriminatory and detrimental to national security.

Lieberman, I-Conn., and a group of Democrats on the Senate Armed Services Committee, announced legislation to scrap the law and specifically prohibit discrimination against service members on the basis of sexual orientation.

"Don't ask, don't tell," which was first implemented in 1993, prohibits gay service members from revealing their sexual orientation while serving in the U.S. military.

Lieberman's newly introduced legislation, known as the Military Readiness Enhancement Act of 2010, was lauded Wednesday by The Human Rights Campaign, the nation's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender civil rights organization.

The organization's president, Joe Solmonese said in a statement Wednesday Liberman's initiative is "a bold, patriotic move that will long be remembered as key to removing the stain of the discriminatory ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ law from the U.S. code."

The Connecticut senator's push to repeal the law comes as the Pentagon ordered a nine-month study on gays in the military.

Defense Secretary Robert Gates has said it is probably inevitable that the law will change and ordered a sweeping study to determine how it could be done with minimal impact on the force. As a candidate, President Obama vowed to change the policy but needs Congress' blessing.

But GOP lawmakers, including Rep. Buck McKeon, R-Calif. and Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., appear resistant to a repeal of the law.

"At this moment of immense hardship for our armed services, we should not be seeking to overturn the 'don't ask, don't tell' policy," McCain said before the Senate Armed Services Committee in February, calling the law "imperfect but effective."