Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina – a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee – released a statement Saturday opposing the repeal of the ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ policy. Graham voted against the repeal, which passed 65-31.
“I am very disappointed such a major policy change was jammed through the lame duck Congress without the ability to offer one single amendment,” said Graham. “Apparently, the concerns of the Commandant of the Marine Corps, who indicated repealing ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ under these conditions would affect battlefield preparedness potentially leading to increased risk of casualties, were ignored.”
Graham also called the vote unwise, citing the fact that the service chiefs of the Air Force and the Army both advised Congress that now was not the right time to make such a significant policy change.
“Our nation continues to be involved in two armed conflicts which have taken a heavy toll on our military,” Graham said. “To ask our armed forces and their families to absorb these changes in the middle of two major conflicts is both unfair and unwise.”
President Barack Obama is expected to sign the repeal of the 17-year-old policy into law next week, allowing gays to serve openly without fear of being discharged from service.
The repeal comes less than a month after Graham appeared on Fox News, saying that the ban on open gays in the military was here to stay.
“This is a political promise made by Sen. Obama when he was running for president,” said Graham. “There is no groundswell of opposition to ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ coming from our military. This is all politics.”