Obama: Congress, Not Courts, Should Resolve 'Don't Ask' Law

By Lisa Daniel
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Nov. 3, 2010 - President Barack Obama said today he hopes the current Congress will resolve the uncertainty about whether gay men and lesbians can serve openly in the military.

In a White House news conference, Obama said he hopes the law will be repealed to allow gays to serve openly because "it's the right thing to do."

"I've been a strong believer that if somebody is willing to put on the uniform, and put their life at risk, that they should not be prevented from doing so because of their sexual orientation," he said.

Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates and Navy Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, also have supported Congress repealing the law, but at a pace that would allow an orderly process for the change.

Obama noted that a major Defense Department survey of servicemembers and their families on the issue of repealing the law is due out early next month. "I will expect that Secretary of Defense Gates and Admiral Mullen will have something to say about that, and that will give us time, particularly in the lame duck session, to act on this review," he said.

A series of judicial rulings and appeals has been disruptive, Obama said, forcing the military to have to quickly change course on whether and how to implement the law. Congress repealing the law would make for a more orderly process, he added.

The president noted that recent national polls show most Americans support allowing gays to serve openly in the military.

"We need to provide certainty, and it's time to move this issue forward," he said. "This shouldn't be a partisan issue. Folks willing to serve on our behalf should be allowed to do so fairly and equally."

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