The US Congress is on track for taking a landmark vote over the issue of LGBT people serving in the military, according to the Associated Press.
The House may well vote today on the “don’t ask, don’t tell” law that was established under President Bill Clinton in 1993. The proposal to repeal the law was put forward by Rep. Patrick Murphy, a Pennsylvania Democrat who served in the Iraq war.
The legislation was struck as a compromise between the White House and the Defense Department and President Obama, Defence Secretary Robert Gates and Joint Chiefs of Staff have agreed to provide considerable evidence that the lifing of the ban will not impede the US military’s abilities or damage morale. The Senate Armed Services Committee is also expected to take up an identical measure which would be tucked in to a broader billl, authorising a sum of hundreds of billions of dollars for the US military.
Supporters of the movement suggested that the Senate had enough votes to pass the bill. Senator Bill Nelson, himself a supporter, said: “In a military which values honesty and integrity, this policy encourages deceit.” However, some conservative Democrats including Rep. Gene Taylor of Mississippi have threatened to oppose the spending bill if it includes a repeal of the ban.
It is likely that the Senate will not vote until the Pentagon have completed their survey of military personnel. Speaking to Air Force cadets on Wednesday, Admiral Mike Mullen, the top uniformed officer in the US and chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said service members should question conventional ideas. He said: “Few things are more important to an organisation than people who have the moral courage to question the direction in which the organisation is headed and then the strength of character to support whatever final decisions are made.”