Army chief sees ‘anxiety’ on lifting ban on gays |

Army chief sees ‘anxiety’ on lifting ban on gays

Associated Press Writer

FORT CARSON, Colo. – Army Chief of Staff Gen. George W. Casey said Thursday he sees anxiety in the armed services over how possible changes in the law that bans openly gay servicemen and women would be implemented.

The military must look hard at how a new policy would be put into force to alleviate those concerns, Casey said during a visit to Fort Carson, where he met with commanders and troops from two brigades preparing to deploy, one to Iraq and one to Afghanistan.

President Barack Obama wants to change the 1993 law known as “don’t ask, don’t tell,” saying it unfairly punishes people who want to serve.

Defense Secretary Robert Gates has ordered a comprehensive study on how to lift the ban without hurting the forces.

In testimony before Congress last week, Casey and Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz said they had serious concerns about lifting the ban with two wars raging.

Casey raised those concerns again Thursday, saying it’s important to have accurate data on how soldiers and their families feel about lifting the ban and implementing a new policy.

“We’ve all kind of gone around and done our own informal polling, but that’s not sufficient to make a judgment of this level while we’re in the middle of a war,” he said.

He said it’s important to give everyone in the armed forces the chance to speak up without fear of retribution.

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