'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' to be Reviewed

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This is a rush transcript from "America's Election HQ," July 22, 2008. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

E.D. HILL, HOST: "Don't ask. Don't tell." Homosexual men and women in the military have been banned from talking about their sexuality with each other for 15 years. But as attitudes in America change, some lawmakers say so should that law.

FOX's Douglas Kennedy just spoke with a lawmaker who is leading the drive to reverse the policy.

DOUGLAS KENNEDY, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Yes, E.D. Attitudes are changing and we are just months away from electing a new president. Democrats who oppose the policy say they see an opening.

Video: Watch the Douglas Kennedy package


PROTESTORS: Lift the ban now!

KENNEDY (voice over): Don't ask. Don't tell. Don't continue. That's the hope of House Democrats who are holding hearings tomorrow on the 15-year-old comprised policy allowing homosexuals to serve in the military.

REP. ELLEN TAUSCHER (D-CA): It is really an opportunity for the first time in many years for "the don't ask, don't tell" policy to have a review.

KENNEDY: California Congresswoman Ellen Tauscher is the lead sponsor of a bill looking to repeal the policy signed into law had in 1993 by President Clinton. She says now is not the time to be barring people who are more than capable of serving.

TAUSCHER: We're fighting two wars and we have an overstretched military. We have too many people that are on their third, fourth and fifth tours in Iraq or Afghanistan.

KENNEDY: Absent from tomorrow's hearing at the House Subcommittee on Military Personnel will be any officials from the U.S. Military who have traditionally been opposed to gays openly serving. Last year, for instance, Peter Pace, then chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff was caught on audiotape calling homosexuality bad behavior.

GEN. PETER PACE, FORMER CHAIR OF THE JOINT CHIEFS OF STAFF: I do not believe that the Armed Forces of the United States are well served by some of our policies that say it's OK to be immoral in any way.

KENNEDY: Still, for most of the population, times have changed since 1993, when only 44 percent supported gays serving in the military. A poll published Saturday for "The Washington Post" shows 75 percent of Americans now favor gays serving openly. Tauscher says she hopes the time is coming to an end for "don't ask, don't tell."

TAUSCHER: It is a time when we have a president that will sign a legislation and we don't have one now.


KENNEDY: But she hopes by January, we will. Tauscher is a strong supporter of Barack Obama who wants to get rid of "don't ask, don't tell." John McCain, E.D., as you know, wants to keep it intact.

HILL: Now, what about the lawmakers in general? What's the move there? Is it only if there is a Democrat as president?

KENNEDY: Yes. That's the only way this is going to get done. This bill would go through and it would have to be signed into law right when either Barack Obama or John McCain gets elected. You can't imagine, though, a newly-elected Democratic president taking this on. Bill Clinton took this on in 1993, just when he got elected, and it was a disaster for him.

HILL: Doug, thank you very much - Douglas Kennedy.

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