Rep. Ellen Tauscher, D-Calif.
NEW YORK – The issue of gays in the military is about to resurface in Congress in the early days of the Obama administration, with the possibility it could dog the new president much as it derailed President Bill Clinton’s agenda as he took office early in 1993, WND has learned.
The House Armed Services Committee told WND that Rep. Ellen Tauscher, D-Calif., is preparing to submit legislation to the panel that would reverse the 15-year-old “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy and bar discrimination based on sexual orientation. The Clinton administration enacted the “Don’t Ask” policy to allow homosexuals to serve if they do not reveal their orientation.
A top Democratic aide confirmed to WND that Tauscher plans to introduce the legislation to the House in the next several weeks.
During the 2008 presidential campaign, Obama frequently promised to repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” if he were elected president.
On Obama’s transition website, Change.com, spokesman Robert Gibbs answered the question, “Is the new administration going to get rid of the ‘don’t ask don’t tell’ policy?” His one-word answer was, “Yes.”
Archived on YouTube.com, Gibbs’ answer has been viewed nearly 35,000 times.
The current law enacted by Congress in 1993 in response to President Clinton’s call to admit gays to the military, Public Law 103-160, Section 654, Title 10, reaffirms that the U.S. Constitution under Section 8, Article 1, exclusively delegates to Congress the power to raise and support armies, provide and maintain a Navy. The law also makes rules for the government and regulation of the land and naval forces.
The law specifically gives the U.S. military the authority to remove from the military anyone who engages in, attempts to engage in or solicits to engage in a homosexual act.
Tauscher introduced a bill to repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” in 2006, but the legislation did not advance through the House in the face of a near-certain veto from President Bush.
Tauscher is currently the main sponsor of H.R. 1246, the Military Readiness Enhancement Act, a bill first introduced in 2007 by then-Rep. Marty Meehan, D-Mass., aimed at prohibiting sexual-orientation discrimination in the military.
The office of Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, D-Mass., told the Boston Globe Kennedy is also preparing to introduce legislation to lift the ban but not until he can find a Republican co-sponsor for the measure.