September 23, 2010 at 8:14 pm EDT | by Chris Johnson
Gates says Pentagon report should inform ‘Don’t Ask’ repeal

Defense Secretary Robert Gates. (Blade photo by Michael Key)

Defense Secretary Robert Gates on Thursday maintained that the Pentagon study on “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” should be complete before Congress takes any legislative action to repeal the law.

During his weekly press conference at the Pentagon, Gates said in response to a Blade inquiry about the failure to move forward with “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” repeal legislation that he didn’t want to comment on what he called “procedural issues” in the Senate.

On Tuesday, the Senate failed by a vote of 56-43 to invoke cloture and bring to the floor major defense legislation with “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” repeal language. Breaking the filibuster requires 60 votes.

Still, Gates maintained his position on “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” is clear as well as the position of President Obama and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Mike Mullen.

“The chairman’s and my position is similar to the [service] chiefs in the respect that we believe legislation — the best legislation — would be legislation informed by the review that we have going on,” Gates said.

The Pentagon working group is developing plans to implement repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” and is due to submit a report to Gates by Dec. 1.

Additionally, the defense secretary said the Obama administration’s decision on whether to appeal a recent California federal court ruling against “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” is “under consideration right now.” Gates said he doesn’t know what decision will be reached in the matter.

The exchange between the Blade and Gates follows:

Blade: Mister Secretary, a federal court in California recently found that the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” law is unconstitutional. Do you think that decision should be appealed to the Ninth Circuit [Court of Appeals]?

Gates: I think that’s under consideration right now, and I don’t know what decision either has been made or will be made.

Blade: If I could just follow up on the topic of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” earlier this week the Senate was unable to invoke cloture on the defense authorization bill. What’s your reaction to that and why do you think the Senate was unable to go forward?

Gates: Well, it’s clear what the president’s position on this is, mine, the chairman’s. I don’t want to get into procedural issues in the Senate. … The chairman’s and my position is similar to the [service] chiefs in the respect that we believe legislation — the best legislation — would be legislation informed by the review that we have going on. But, fundamentally, I’m not going to comment on the procedural issues in the Senate.

Chris Johnson is Chief Political & White House Reporter for the Washington Blade. Johnson attends the daily White House press briefings and is a member of the White House Correspondents' Association. Follow Chris

  • What language does Gates expect to be introduced to the legislation, that can only be informed from their military/rand-y “survey”? They clearly “know” already that something will stand out– military housing? bathing? travel? marriage? –that’s it! marriage! They will make sure that a MILITARY BAN ON SAME-SEX MARRIAGE IS INTRODUCED, SINCE THEY COULDN’T GET A FEDERAL CONSTITUTIONAL BAN. DEVIOUS, GATES, DEVIOUS… Then, Obama can say that “DADT was repealed, but, sorry folks, like Clinton, I am revoking your status as equal citizens, and invoking your status as second-class idiot…. uh, heroes!” Just watch…

  • Astonishing how the military and the homophobes refuse to allow us to exist in peace and do a job. They’ve always got to add some statement that says they know we’re deviant and they were forced to do ___________ because the liberal constitution and judges wouldn’t allow them to keep blocking our progress any longer. Gates looks disappointed that he has to repeal D.A.D.T. He also looks like he’s on S.N.L. Live, from N.Y.!

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