Colo.’s US Senator says time to repeal ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’
Associated Press Writer
WASHINGTON – Sen. Mark Udall said Friday he wants U.S. military chiefs to tell Congress in the next 30 days how they would handle a repeal of the nation’s ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ law that bars gays and lesbians from serving openly in the military.
The Colorado Democrat released a letter to President Barack Obama applauding Obama’s recent restatement of his intention to end “don’t ask, don’t tell.” Udall said he wants to champion that effort in the Senate Armed Services Committee, where he is a member.
“We need all qualified men and women, many with mission-critical skills, to fight and win America’s wars. And the public is ready for this and is with us,” Udall wrote.
The letter asks Obama to direct Defense Secretary Robert Gates and U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Admiral Mike Mullen to say when they think the repeal should happen and how a nondiscrimination policy should be implemented.
The letter notes Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., the Armed Services committee chairman, has said it’s necessary that senior military leaders be consulted and Congress have their buy-in on a plan to repeal the law.
Obama received a standing ovation from a crowd of about 3,000 at the annual dinner in Washington of the Human Rights Campaign, a gay civil rights advocacy group, when he said: “I will end ‘don’t ask-don’t tell.'”
However, Obama offered no timetable or specifics and he acknowledged some may be growing impatient.