And I have said that I would work to make sure that as long as it is supported by the troops, as long as it doesn't hurt the performance or the morale, or the recruitment -- these are all things we have to take into consideration -- I think we will see that play out in this report. If in fact don't ask don't tell is included in the Defense Authorization Act and we get to the point where we can move that bill through - I would not oppose the defense authorization act because the Don't Ask Don't Tell repeal of it is included in it.How's that for political speak? Sen. Mark Begich hasn't been put on the spot on this issue recently, but here he is back in March:
I have made the statement to others, that we're in a different point in time. There is, more clearly, a level of acceptance in our communities at all levels of supporting and providing for that level of equality to the homosexual community. And I think that's important to recognize that.
Yesterday, APRN's Washington DC reporter, Libby Casey brought up the upcoming vote on this to the staffs of both our senators:
Mel Green, writing at both Henkimaa and Bent Alaska, asks us to call Murkowski's offices:
Alaska’s Senators are both reviewing a Pentagon report unveiled Tuesday on the effects of repealing the law banning gays in the military. It concludes that getting rid of “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” presents little risk to the troops’ ability to carry out missions, and says 70 percent of service members surveyed believe it would have little or no effect on their units.
It’s up to the Senate whether or not to repeal “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” as part of the Defense Authorization bill. Senator Mark Begich supports getting rid of the anti-gay policy, and points to American allies in Iraq and Afghanistan who do not have such policies and have not had problems, either in their own ranks or when working with U.S. troops. He says it’s time to move forward.
Begich sits on the Senate Armed Services Committee, which will take testimony on the study Thursday from Defense Secretary Robert Gates, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mike Mullen, and top military leaders.
Republicans are largely against repeal. But Senator Lisa Murkowski could be a possible swing vote; she’s said she wanted to wait for the study’s results and make sure repeal wouldn’t hurt troop morale and recruitment. Tuesday evening Murkowski hadn’t yet had a chance to scrutinize the newly released report, but said her top military staffer was reading it, and she plans to dig into it.
Please call Sen. Murkowski. I just did.
Lisa Murkowski last week told KTVA's Matt Felling that "I would not oppose the Defense Authorization bill because Don't Ask Don't Tell, the repeal of it, is included within it" — but statements during and since then from Sen. Murkowski and her staff have made it clear that her "non-opposition" is far from equivalent to "support" for a repeal, and comes with some qualifications.
Make sure to let her know that equality under the law for LGBT citizens, including LGBT servicemembers, is important to you:
Sen. Lisa Murkowski
877-829-6030 (toll free)
The Honorable Lisa Murkowski
709 Hart Senate Office Building
United States Senate
Washington, DC 20510