A day after a federal judge ordered the Pentagon to stop enforcing “don’t ask, don’t tell,” Defense Secretary Robert Gates said yesterday the decision about whether to allow gays to serve in the military is best left to legislation.
“I feel very strongly that this is an action that needs to be taken by the Congress, and that it is an action that requires careful preparation and a lot of training,” Gates told reporters.
The Justice Department reportedly is considering an appeal of a California judge’s ruling Tuesday that would allow gays to openly serve.
Gates said bringing an abrupt end to the 17-year-old policy would have “enormous consequences” to troops. He added that Congress should wait to act until the Pentagon completes its review this year on the impact of a repeal.
Speaking to reporters, White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said a repeal is all but assured.
“[The courts] demonstrated that time is running out on the policy,” he said yesterday. “It’s not whether it will end but the process by which it will end.”
Legislation to repeal the ban stalled in the Senate last month. The White House reportedly plans to try again after the November elections. Obama has said the repeal is a priority.