Murkowski Statement on Don't Ask, Don't Tell

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, today made the following statement concerning the ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ policy:

“After reviewing the DOD report and the testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee by Defense Secretary Gates and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mullen, I have concluded that it is time to repeal the ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ law. We expect all who serve to serve with integrity, but under current law gay and lesbian service members may speak about their sexual orientation only at the risk of being discharged from performing the duties they have trained hard to carry out. America is the loser when it denies those who are willing to make the great sacrifices demanded of our men and women in uniform the opportunity do so on grounds of sexual orientation. I agree with Defense Secretary Gates’ view that the military can successfully implement a repeal of the ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ law provided that proper preparations are implemented.

“I fully understand that the repeal of this law comes with some reservations and hesitancy among the military’s Service Chiefs. During their testimony last week before the Senate Arms Services Committee, each of the Chiefs expressed concerns over the timing of the repeal and a desire to ensure that the military was afforded ample time to implement service-wide training and policy reviews before a repeal went into effect. I understand their concerns about the implementation of a repeal while the country is engaged in two wars, but through their leadership and devotion to ensuring that our military remains the world’s premier fighting force, I believe this policy can be successfully repealed with minimal risk to unit effectiveness. I trust that the Service Chiefs will develop and execute a plan to implement the DOD report recommendations as well as ensure that post repeal policies and regulations are addressed in such a way that the standards of military readiness and effectiveness, unit cohesion, and recruiting and retention are not negatively impacted.

“However, my support for moving the Defense Authorization bill forward, which includes a repeal of the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy, will depend on whether the majority allows for an open and fair amendment process. This is a weighty, policy-laden bill that normally takes several weeks to debate and amend. If the majority attempts to push it through allowing little or no debate or votes on amendments, I will be inclined to oppose those efforts.”