February 14th, 2010
12:00 PM ET
13 years ago

Kyl: Don't repeal DADT

Washington (CNN) - The number two Republican in the Senate said Sunday that he sees no need to repeal the military's "Dont Ask, Dont Tell" policy on gays and lesbians service members.

"I respectfully disagree," Sen. Jon Kyl, R-Arizona, told CNN Senior Political Correspondent Candy Crowley on State of the Union when asked about comments by Obama national security adviser James Jones.

Earlier in the program, Jones, who served four decades in the Marine Corps, said he supported the positions of Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Mike Mullen. Earlier this month, Gates informed Congress that the Pentagon was laying the groundwork for the eventual repeal of the policy and Mullen said it was his personal belief that allowing gays and lesbians to serve openly "would be the right thing to do."

"I tend to take my lead on things like this from my colleague John McCain," Kyl said. Sen. McCain, the former Republican presidential nominee, has suggested that "Dont Ask, Dont Tell" accommodates the desires of a majority of service members while still allowing gays and lesbians to serve in uniform.

As the Senate Republican Whip, Kyl is charged with gauging and building support in the Senate Republican Caucus and counting Republican votes for legislation before the Senate. Asked by Crowley whether there was enough votes in the Senate to repeal the policy, Kyl said "I have no idea."

"You haven't counted noses yet?," Crowley asked Kyl.

"No," he replied, "I assume the process of getting some kind of a report prepared and testimony to Congress will take many months."

Only Congress can repeal "Dont Ask, Dont Tell." In his first State of the Union address last month, President Obama called on Capitol Hill to get rid of the policy which dates from the administration of the last Democratic president in the early 1990s.

soundoff (56 Responses)
  1. Palermo

    Since when do "the desires of a majority of service members" have anything to do with this issue? Service members follow orders, that is their job. Their job is not to determine policy or human rights issues. Kyl's argument is absurd.

    Our society has, albeit slowly, moved past similar discriminatory issues in the past, and will ultimately move past this one.

    February 14, 2010 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  2. Hall for Obama

    I can tell "Sue" you never been in the military, If some one have a gun point at you or you have been hurt and your life was at stake you would not give a dam who would have your back as long as they did the job as military personnel and save your life. Ask any military.

    February 14, 2010 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  3. Moderate One

    Just how many gay people are in the US Military? It would seem to me that its a small number, so I just don't see why Kyl and McCain make such a big thing out of it. I don't think that its right that our military should be allowed to have these antiquated concepts, which then in turn get ingrained into the enlisted members, so when they leave the military and come back into society, the have these unreasonable fears and concerns. We should not be teaching hate.

    February 14, 2010 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  4. Rick McDaniel

    Time to stop treating some people like second class citizens, because of religious beliefs.

    Get religion out of government.

    February 14, 2010 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  5. Iaguy75

    Bottom line, whether you agree with it or not, is the military does not dictate law in this country. They serve the public.

    My brother is in the Army and he personally has no problem with gays serving. He even went as far as to say one member of his unti came out after their deployment to Iraq and that this guy, who was discharged, made a better solder than a lot of his unit.

    February 14, 2010 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  6. Joe

    What a surprise. A right wing republican is out of touch and locked into his party's traditional bigotry. Tell me Sen. Kyl, if you were assigned a security detail in an emergency and found out one of them was gay, would you refuse to let that person take a bullet intended for you?

    February 14, 2010 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  7. britto-fl

    it's 2010 and we still want it two be the Reagan years! Go figure dadt! Wake up America look what they are doing to this country its shameful.

    February 14, 2010 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  8. Kenney of Golden, CO

    Allowing homosexuals to serve in the military will not destroy or decrease enrollment. The long never-ending tours of duties are doing that for them. Homosexuals already serve in the military and the standards of conduct do and still would apply.

    The more people in the military the less long tour of duties would be required meaning more family time for the straight people in the military to spend with their wife and kids.

    Military life is not easy. Military life is about discipline. Any person regardless of sexual orientation that can not abid by the rules and lifestyle of the military will not cut the mustard and be released. Homosexual Americans are no less Americans than non-homosexuals and deserve a chance to serve their country.

    February 14, 2010 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  9. katiec

    Another example of the Bible thumping hypocrasy of the republican party. They have no regard for their fellow men and women and continue to think gays are unacceptable to our society. Will they ever, ever stop living in the dark ages??

    February 14, 2010 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  10. Susie

    Wow, after Tancredi's blatant racism surfaced at the TPN convention, I am not surprised to read the rants here of people terrified by gays. Honestly, if someone wants to serve our country, I doubt they are joining up so they can "convert" straight people, or ogle them in the shower. Grow up. You are probably the same people who homeschool your precious children so they aren't contaminated by any real thought outside of your beliefs. Is this really 2010?

    February 14, 2010 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  11. bennie new york

    DADT has to be repealed. The military has lost many linguists to the policy that we could have used in the War on Terror. Also the military has allowed violent offenders in to their ranks because so many gay officers have been kicked out. Does it make any sense at all to allow large numbers of convicted felons in the military and not allow gays?

    February 14, 2010 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  12. Flex

    Kyl projects his homophobia over all military personnel. While the personnel is professional, he is not!

    February 14, 2010 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  13. Bryan

    I am currently in the military. I have been for 10 years. I have had many discussions about "don't ask, don't tell." Most people feel that it is unneccessary. Most people feel that a Soldier's ability to fire a weapon and do their job is more important that their sexual orientation. I have served with gay service members before. Nobody cared. They did their job. They joked with everyone. Nobody cared. All the right wing nuts need to realize it is not 1950 anymore.

    February 14, 2010 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  14. Tom

    During war time we are told by political leaders that we should listen to the military leaders as they know best. This is the time to listen to our military leaders and do away with DADT for it serves no useful purpose. How many current and past cadets of our military academies have had to hold back the truth of their sexual orientation for fear of being discharged. Is this not, in a way, a lie when for they are asked to be truthful in their honor code. I served for over 20 years in your USAF alongside gays and never encountered any problems and this included a tour in Viet Nam. This issue should not be a political decision although it will be. All who want to serve are country, regardless of their sexual orientation should be allowed to.

    February 14, 2010 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  15. R U for Real? CA

    bobby February 14th, 2010 12:39 pm ET

    thank God I live in Canada where every life that dies in the service of his or her country is respected gay or not. We allow openly gay men and women to serve and DIE for our country (as do many other countries I might ad) and we let them do it exactly the way they are. Our military has no problem and hasn't SUFFERED in the process. I always thought America was the LAND OF EQUAL OPPORTUNITY. Why are you so scared of your gay and lesbian friends they wont eat you...PROMISE!

    100% agreed and fanned!

    February 14, 2010 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  16. Death Panel Sarah

    ..."I tend to take my lead on things like this from my colleague John McCain," Kyl said.

    That's his problem. Did he forget McCain wanted Sarah for his running mate??
    Didn't that set off any alarms about mcCain's judgement???

    February 14, 2010 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  17. RTB

    Typical Republican response to everything – vague, feet dragging, negative, no nothing, obstruct when possible, and deny whatever.

    February 14, 2010 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  18. Scooter

    The initial issue I will leave to the politicians. It is stated–however–that Jones spent four decades in the military. Uh–forty years ????Was he asleep the last ten????

    Oh well-what to believe and what not to. (to include his arrogant, I know all about the military garbage). Was he ever really in the military??

    February 14, 2010 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  19. George Guadiane - Austerlitz, NY

    "I tend to take my lead on things like this from my colleague John McCain," Kyl said. Sen. McCain, the former Republican presidential nominee, has suggested that "Dont Ask, Dont Tell" accommodates the desires of a majority of service members while still allowing gays and lesbians to serve in uniform.

    Since when did we "ACCOMMODATE THE DESIRES" of service members? That is an IGNORANT statement.. The military is there to SERVE, PERIOD. If we were "accommodating desires," we would have no working military right now... How many of our active service people would DESIRE to do only one tour of duty? ACCOMMODATE THEM!
    We are having trouble getting and keeping service members in all kinds of areas, "allowing" gays and lesbians to serve (so long as they lie about themselves) seems unconstitutional to me. AND against any form of an Military Code Of Honor.

    February 14, 2010 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  20. Mr Joshua

    Personally I do not think it is a big deal. Again I was never a soldier. I just don't think the military is a place for social experiments.

    February 14, 2010 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  21. Topher

    If Sen. Kyl wants to stay relevant he might think about eventually joining the 21st century.

    February 14, 2010 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  22. Tom

    The clueless, anti-military, community organizing socialist in the White House hates the United States military so much that he prefers to throw bones to his fundamentalist homosexualist base of fringe leftist extremists rather than defend the United States military against Obama's anti-military, fringe extremist leftist base.

    February 14, 2010 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  23. John in Tampa

    As Gen. Jones puts it, you should not have to lie in order to serve your country. Gay or straight, just do your job, and you are an honorable soldier to me.

    February 14, 2010 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  24. Edwin

    I don't honestly care what Senators think of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell." The only ones with opinions that matter are

    1) the military who have to deal with policies,
    2) the general American population (for whom laws are enacted), and
    3) the court system, whose job it is to decide if laws are legal according to the constitution.

    Generally, #1 has been positive about repealing the law. #2 has been divided, with many strong advocates on both sides. And #3 has been pretty quiet, implying the law and its removal are both okay.

    Because of DADT, we have lost over a thousand translators of critical languages from the military, some who were never replaced. Intelligence operations were hampered, and the ability of the military to carry out its strategies was affected.

    Protecting straight soldiers from gay ones is all well and good, except when the policy puts all soldiers at more risk. We need experts in the military, and if the only ones we can hire happen to be gay, we still need them.

    February 14, 2010 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  25. Paul H

    I say leave it up to the generals, and the officers in charge. Leave it up to the ones that have a feel for how the ones that are serving now feel about this issue. Also let it be up to each branch instead of declaring all military as we know it will adhere to this rule.
    Let these people deal with it, and let the President deal with the bigger picture.

    February 14, 2010 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
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