Legislation is expected to be introduced by Representative Duncan D. Hunter, a Republican from California, aimed at blocking the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” if passed. Hunter’s proposed bill would require the signatures of the four service chiefs—as opposed to solely those of the President, Defense Secretary, and chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff—stating that the military is prepared for the law’s repeal.
Some of these service chiefs have spoken out regarding their opposition or concerns about the end of the law. According to On Top Magazine, the most vocal of these is Marine Corps Commandant General James Amos, who has campaigned loudly against allowing gay men and lesbians to serve openly.
In contrast, Army Chief of Staff Gen. George Casey testified that he did not believe service chiefs needed the responsibility of issuing certification for repeal, since their voices are already represented. “I am very comfortable with my ability to provide input to Secretary Gates and to the Chairman,” he said, adding that he didn’t think it necessary to include his own signature. He also considered, the Washington Blade reports, whether “an expansion of the certification requirement would undercut the Goldwater-Nichols Act of 1986, which set up the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff as the principal military adviser to the president.”
Metro Weekly states that Rep. Hunter was a strong advocate against “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” repeal in the House of Representatives, drawing an analogy to John McCain in his opposition. The Hill notes that Hunter is an Iraq and Afghanistan veteran, as well as a current member of the House Armed Services Committee. An anonymous Congressional aide says that Hunter’s bill has 15-20 Republican supporters so far, and may be introduced as early as tonight.
The Senate voted to allow the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” on December 18 after more than 17 years in effect, and President Obama signed the measure on December 22. Under current law, repeal would take place 60 days after President Obama, Defense Secretary Gates, and the chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Adm. Mike Mullen, certify their approval.
GLAAD has been closely monitoring media coverage of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” for months, and will continue to provide updates on this story in order to ensure fair and accurate representation of LGBT people.