Levin Schedules ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ Hearing

Posted January 28, 2010 at 4:35pm

Senate Armed Services Chairman Carl Levin (D-Mich.) will hold a hearing next week on the military’s controversial “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell— policy on the heels of President Barack Obama’s call for its repeal.While Levin remained coy on a possible timeline to roll back the policy banning openly gay people from serving in the military, he noted Obama’s call in Wednesday night’s State of the Union address helped build momentum that can be channeled this year. “I think the American people are ready for a change,— Levin said, acknowledging it will be difficult to tackle the issue in an election year. “Will it be more sensitive? Probably. Everyone’s ears are more tuned in during an election year,— Levin said. “But I think public opinion has turned against discriminating against gays.— Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Chairman Joe Lieberman (ID-Conn.) and ranking member Susan Collins (R-Maine) have also expressed interest in addressing the issue.“I think the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy needs to be reviewed, but I think it’s important we hear from military leaders,— Collins said.The Armed Services hearing set for next Tuesday will feature Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Adm. Michael Mullen of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Those officials were already set to testify on the fiscal 2011 Defense authorization bill. In his address Wednesday, Obama declared: “This year, I will work with Congress and our military to finally repeal the law that denies gay Americans the right to serve the country they love because of who they are.—