Votes are expected tonight or tomorrow on the House floor and in the Senate Armed Services Committee on a measure to repeal Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, a 1993 law that forbids openly gay men and women from serving in the military.
The repeal is expected to pass in both votes. In the Senate, the measure will then go before the whole chamber, where its future is uncertain.
On the House side, Democratic speaker Nancy Pelosi said passing the amendment is “the right thing to do.”
She pressed lawmakers to vote now, rather than wait until December when the military completes its study on how that would impact defense operations.
Pelosi says the amendment is written so that “it doesn't repeal don't ask don't tell. It defers to when that report comes forth. And then repeals it.”
That seems backwards to lawmakers who think Don't Ask, Don't Tell should stay in place, especially while the military is examining the impact of changing the law.
Congressman Roscoe Bartlett (R-MD) tells Fox, “I don't know all of the disruptions this might cause in the military which is why they want to study it. We are kind of second guessing things when we say this or that would be a concern without the study. That's what the study is meant to find out, so let's have a study before we make a decision.”
The Pentagon has said that Defense Secretary Robert Gates doesn't like that Congress is moving ahead without the review, but that he can "accept" how the amendment was written.