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

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In a White House news con­fer­ence, Oba­ma said he hopes the law will be repealed to allow gays to serve open­ly because “it’s the right thing to do.”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

U.S. Depart­ment of Defense
Office of the Assis­tant Sec­re­tary of Defense (Pub­lic Affairs)

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