Two Virginia legislators, U.S. Senator James Webb and Northern Virginia Congressman Jim Moran, took different positions on the subject of the Congress’ historic consideration of the repeal of the military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy toward gays and lesbians.
Senator Webb, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee that began hearing testimony on Capital Hill today on repealing the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy, issued the following statement late this afternoon:
“Secretary of Defense Gates and Admiral Mullen have announced a responsible and careful approach toward examining the current ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ policy. This examination, which also will include an assessment of the implications of changing the law, will take approximately a year. The Department of Defense will then report back to Congress for further review of the legislation. I am in agreement with Secretary Gates and Admiral Mullen that consideration of this issue requires such a careful approach. It also must involve the full, open input and engagement of those serving in uniform today, including our military leadership, our active duty members in all services and at all levels, and their family members.”
However, Rep. Moran called for a more expedited timetable to end the policy. Here is Moran’s statement:
“I applaud Chairman Levin for convening today’s historic hearing on Don’t Ask Don’t Tell — the first public vetting of the policy in 17 years. Don’t Ask Don’t Tell is an irresponsible, expensive and utterly un-American policy that discriminates against those who choose to serve and defend their country.
“While it’s important to get the roll-back process right, it is critical to get it done in a timely manner. Careers hang in the balance. A long, drawn out process will simply provide more opportunity for obstruction and breed uncertainty within the ranks. I have confidence that Secretary Gates and the military leadership can and will carry out the President’s directive without detriment to the force. “The reality is that America is engaged in two high stakes wars. We simply can’t afford to lose professional soldiers for reasons unrelated to their ability to carry out the mission. Its time to end Don’t Ask Don’t Tell.”