“Don’t ask, don’t tell” repeal bill to be introduced in House Tuesday

A stand-alone bill to repeal the military’s ban on gays serving openly will be introduced to the House Tuesday at noon, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer announced this morning.

Pennsylvania Democratic Rep. Patrick Murphy, a longtime proponent of the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy, will introduce a bill that Hoyer said is a “verbatim” version of the Senate proposal that Sen. Joseph Leiberman, Connecticut independent, introduced after an effort to repeal the policy failed last week.

“Today Rep. Patrick Murphy is introducing a new standalone bill to to allow for repeal of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,’ and I am proud to join him as the lead co-sponsor,” said Hoyer, who is co-sponsoring the proposal. “As Secretary Gates and others have stressed, it is critical that Congress pass this legislation, empowering the Defense Department to implement repeal of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ itself, rather than have repeal imposed by the Courts.”

The House already passed a bipartisan defense spending bill in May that included a DADT repeal measure, but it has stalled in the Senate. Advocates for repeal hope that it will receive the support needed in the Senate now that it is not tied to another bill.

The Pentagon released a year-long report in November showing that nearly 70 percent of military servicemen had indicated that working with openly gay colleagues would have either a positive, mixed or nonexistent impact on their ability to do their jobs. A full 60 percent of combat Marines, however, said the change would have a negative impact.

Democratic leaders in both chambers have suggested that they are open to keeping Congress in session through the weekend before Christmas to vote on the bill.

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