Action to Lift Gay Ban in US Military Called for by Obama

by Kathy Jones on  November 5, 2010 at 10:00 PM Lifestyle News
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A call for repealing a ban on gays serving openly in the US military, voicing hope that action could be taken before a new Congress is sworn in has been renewed by President Barack Obama.
 Action to Lift Gay Ban in US Military Called for by Obama
Action to Lift Gay Ban in US Military Called for by Obama

Obama said legal wrangling in the courts over the issue had created confusion for the armed forces.

"We need to provide certainty. And it's time for us to move this policy forward," Obama told a news conference.

Speaking a day after his fellow Democrats suffered a major defeat in legislative elections, Obama suggested the law could be changed in the current Congress before a newly-elected Republican majority takes over the House of Representatives in January.

With the Pentagon about to complete a review looking at the effect of lifting the ban, Obama said there was still time to repeal the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" law in the final weeks of the current Congress.

"There's going to be a review that comes out at the beginning of the month that will have surveyed attitudes and opinions within the armed forces," he said.

"I will look at it very carefully. But that will give us time to act in -- potentially during the lame-duck session to change this policy."

He said that opinion polls showed most Americans supported ending the ban, which requires gay troops to keep quiet about their sexual orientation or face expulsion from the military.

"I've been a strong believer in the notion that if somebody is willing to serve in our military, in uniform, putting their lives on the line for our security, that they should not be prevented from doing so because of their sexual orientation," Obama said.

Activists pressing for the repeal of the rule welcomed the president's remarks.

"We urge the Senate to heed the president?s call for action in the post-election session and look forward to his continued leadership in seeing this through," Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese said in a statement.

A federal appeals court on Monday ruled that a suspension on a judge's order halting enforcement of the ban could remain in place indefinitely.

The 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals granted the government's request for a stay while it tries to appeal a trial court's decision that the ban is unconstitutional.

Obama supports scrapping the ban, but prefers the change be made by Congress, not the courts, and after the Pentagon review of the implications due on December 1.

Source: AFP

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