April 30th, 2010
05:28 PM ET
13 years ago

Gates to Congress: Don't mess with 'don't ask, don't tell' yet

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/04/30/art.gates.gi.file.jpg caption="Robert Gates is warning Congress not to change rules about gays in the military until the Pentagon finishes its review."]Washington (CNN) - The secretary of defense is warning Congress not to change the rules about gays in the military until the Pentagon has reviewed the impact of repealing the laws on the force.

In a letter sent to the House Armed Services Committee's chairman on Friday, Gates wrote he is "strongly opposed" to any changes to the "don't ask, don't tell" legislation before the military review is completed.

"I hope Congress will not do so, as it would send a very damaging message to our men and women in uniform that in essence their views, concerns, and perspectives do not matter on an issue with such a direct impact and consequence for them and their families," Gates wrote in the letter, which was obtained by CNN.

The defense secretary was responding to a request from Sen. Ike Skelton, D-Missouri, head of the Armed Services Committee, for comment about the potential for such legislation changes.

Read Gates' letter to Skelton here.

Read Skelton's letter to Gates here.

Filed under: Congress • Don't Ask Don't Tell • Robert Gates
soundoff (18 Responses)
  1. Victim of GOP Taliban

    After the gay activists so rudely interrupted Obama during his recent visit to CA, I have lost interest. Let the military change the policy when they are good and ready to do so. Quit trying to force your gay agenda before the nation is ready and stop being so disrespectful to our fine President.

    April 30, 2010 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  2. D.

    Obama administration classic: appease all sides, half measures everywhere and losing everyone's confidence (except US enemies who are having a celebration nowadays: back to the good old Clinton "US not reacting properly to provocations time!")

    April 30, 2010 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  3. Sniffit

    " before the nation is ready "

    Eff that. The nation doesn't need to be ready, it needs to grow the f–k up. And if it doesn't, it still doesn't change the fact that homosexual people are entitled to equal protection under our laws. The phrase "gay agenda" is belittling. Their "agenda" is to get everyone to stop treating them like 2nd class citizens. They don't have to wait until everyone else is ready. It's their right...protected by the Constitution, but ignored by society.

    April 30, 2010 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  4. Graham's son

    This is "sexual profiling".....blah, blah, blah...

    April 30, 2010 05:50 pm at 5:50 pm |
  5. Liberal Weenie

    People in the military don't get to have "views, concerns, and perspectives" about military policy. The military is not a democracy. End DADT now!!!

    April 30, 2010 05:50 pm at 5:50 pm |
  6. Molly Weasley

    There have been myriad studies on this already, all coming to the conclusion that having gays serve openly in the military hurts no one. How many studies does Gates need?

    April 30, 2010 06:01 pm at 6:01 pm |
  7. Lynne WA state

    I find it hard to believe that they don't already have the results of their "review." And why do they need a review...the President is their commander in chief....you do what the boss tells you to do...in the military you say yes sir or yes ma'am and get it done.

    I would bet real money that most if not all service men and women already know who is gay and who isn't...growing up a military kid, no one cared about your personal life as long as you did your job!

    These same kinds of arguments came up with African Americans and women in the service...get over it!

    April 30, 2010 06:03 pm at 6:03 pm |
  8. Jay

    #3 equal protection? Come on what protection don't they have? Face it! Millitary stands on moral and people that are so dumb to believe that marriage is NOT between 2 genders have a serious problem and low moral!

    April 30, 2010 06:05 pm at 6:05 pm |
  9. Victim of GOP Taliban

    No I get it. But shouting and having an extremist strategy – even yelling at the President and RUDELY interrupting him isn't exactly going to help the gay "rights" agenda. Most Americans are pretty reasonable people.
    Give it time. Otherwise even a Liberal Stonghold like California will vote against Gay rights when it is presented too quickly or with too much of an extremist manner. The exit polls don't lie – even Democrats voted against gay marriage in CA.

    April 30, 2010 06:09 pm at 6:09 pm |
  10. Allen in Hartwell GA

    "I hope Congress will not do so, as it would send a very damaging message to our men and women in uniform that in essence their views, concerns, and perspectives do not matter on an issue with such a direct impact and consequence for them and their families,"

    I agree with Sec. Gates, but as a 22-year veteran I have to wonder how often the opinions of the military affect the decisions of Congress or the president. I imagine that if the military's opinion had been solicited before 2003 we would not have become involved in Iraq.
    As for as homosexuals having equal rights and equal protection... as individuals they do. It's only when they separate themselves from the group and insist on being treated differently that they are, in fact, treated differently.

    April 30, 2010 06:12 pm at 6:12 pm |
  11. Pam, Eugene, OR

    Just when do you think the time might be right Mr Gates.
    President Obama promised to end DADT and he needs to do it. He has had plenty of time and it needs to be done. I voted for him for several reason. Resinding DADT is one of the reasons along with pulic option health care, NO drill baby drill. So far I am pretty frusytated with him. I am not sorry I did not vote for McCain/Palin but I am a lillte dissapointed in President Obama.

    April 30, 2010 06:21 pm at 6:21 pm |
  12. Jeff

    New GOP slogan:

    SUPPORT OUR TROOPS!!!! ...unless they're gay!!!!

    Shame on anyone opposing the immediate repeal of DADT.

    April 30, 2010 06:28 pm at 6:28 pm |
  13. Anonymous

    This is NOT an issue for the men and women in the armed forces- this is an issue about who will make up the men and women of the armed forces.
    Traditionally, the military is made up of conservative thinking members of society, therefore using one sides opinion on an issue is not valid. Many military leaders have siad the time has come for the change.
    Blacks and women finally got their right to reserve, it's time this arcane rule is lifted and the land of the free and home of the brave reflects its members.

    April 30, 2010 06:48 pm at 6:48 pm |
  14. GJ

    Translation: delay, delay, delay...

    We are a country of civilian government and the Deparment of Defense does not tell us what to pass or when. As a compromise, pass it now but have it go into effect in like a year or so, but pass it NOW!

    We are done waiting.

    April 30, 2010 06:58 pm at 6:58 pm |
  15. Michael from Ventura

    I don't know how one could "have lost interest" in human rights...The Nation is more than ready for this change-just check any poll. I am an Obama supporter for sure, but DADT is way out-dated and a sham of major proportions!

    April 30, 2010 07:05 pm at 7:05 pm |
  16. Liz the First

    It's long past time to end this bigotry! how can you say you're fighting for freedom while denying that freedom to a significant portion of the American people? if the military had their way, they'd still be all white and all male. they need to be dragged kicking and screaming into the 21st century! right on, Sniffit!!! what you said! 🙂

    April 30, 2010 07:28 pm at 7:28 pm |
  17. Olaf

    Was there debate or a vote on including women in the military?

    April 30, 2010 08:16 pm at 8:16 pm |
  18. Mike B.

    That would be about as productive as polling the military on racial integration would have been when that was ordered. Please, everything with at least reasonable intelligence and see Gates is just stalling for whatever political reasons he has.

    April 30, 2010 08:20 pm at 8:20 pm |