Colorado Sen. Mark Udall, a leader in the effort to repeal the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell gays in the military policy, told MSNBC he “sees a greenlight” to pass the repeal this week after the Armed Services Committees hold hearings on the repeal in the wake of a much-anticipated Pentagon report on the repeal. The hearings will include testimony from the Secretary of Defense and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs.
“If we don’t get this done now… I fear it will be a number of years before we actually have a statutory repeal, and the Chairman of the Joint Chief and the Secretary of Defense are saying they want to do this now because they want clarity. They also know this is about national security [as well as civil rights]… We’re in two wars and we’ve discharged over 14,000 patriotic Americans.”
Udall repeated something he also told the Colorado Independent, that he prefers a legislative solution rather than a looming legal solution.
“It’s crucial… The law sometimes take a twisted and winding road to get where you need to arrive. We want to arrive at this point very quickly. That’s why the Secretary and Joint Chiefs are saying repeal the law clearly so we then can go to our enlisted and personnel, the leaders in the military to begin to implement this change… In hearings we’ve had the Secretary and Chairman said it’s not a matter of whether it’s a matter of how we’re going to do this. They want to get to work. They want to let patriotic Americans serve in our military whether gay or straight.”
The Democrats in Congress have set an ambitious agenda for the ongoing lameduck session but so far gridlock on high-profile bills has ruled. Republicans blocked an extension of unemployment benefits Tuesday and are threatening to filibuster the immigrant DREAM Act. Democrats are likewise balking at extending Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans.