Gillibrand Urges Repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’
Opponents of the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell— policy banning gays from openly serving got a boost Wednesday when Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) and former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. John Shalikashvili called for its repeal. “It is time to repeal don’t ask, don’t tell’ and allow our military leaders to create policy that holds our service members to a single standard of conduct and discipline,” Shalikashvili said in a statement. Gillibrand, who last year urged the Armed Services Committee to revisit the issue, called the policy “an unjust, outdated and harmful rule that violates the civil rights of some of our bravest, most heroic men and women.—“I am hopeful that President [Barack] Obama will make this a top priority,— added Gillibrand, who is running to fill an unexpired term this fall and has been championing issues important to the gay community. Obama is rumored to touch on the issue in Wednesday’s State of the Union address. Armed Services Chairman Carl Levin (D-Mich.) held off holding a hearing on the policy in anticipation of the speech.Levin has also said he did not want to address the topic until Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Adm. Michael Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, could testify before his panel. Both men are scheduled to appear before the committee next week to discuss the 2011 Defense authorization request.