Gates Urges Senate to Repeal DADT

Defense Secretary Robert Gates said Friday he was “disappointed” the Senate failed to muster enough votes Thursday to clear the way for repealing the “don’t ask, don’t tell” law. He urged the lame-duck Congress not to give up. “There’s still roughly a week left in that session, so I would hope that Congress would act to repeal ‘don’t ask, don’t tell,'” he told reporters aboard a military aircraft. With a tally of 57 to 40, the Senate came up just three votes shy of the 60 needed to pass a procedural measure Thursday that would have allowed for a subsequent vote on the Senate’s version of the Fiscal 2011 defense authorization bill. The legislation contains language repealing “don’t ask, don’t tell,” which prohibits gays and lesbians from serving openly in the US military. Gates reiterated his concerns that Congress’ failure to act might prompt involvement from the federal courts that could prove detrimental to the military. “My greatest worry would be that we are at the mercy of the courts and all of the lack of predictability that entails,” he said. Sen. Joseph Lieberman (I-Conn.) and Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) have said they will introduce a stand-alone measure to repeal the controversial law, although that’s not likely to happen this year, reports The New York Times. The House has already passed a repeal in its version of the defense authorization bill. (Gates transcript)