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EDITORIAL: Don't fight demise of 'don't ask, don't tell'

'Don't ask, don't tell''? Don't appeal. Shame on the Obama administration for prolonging blatant discrimination against gay service members by appealing a federal court's ruling that found the policy unconstitutional and ordered an immediate end to its enforcement.

President and Commander-in-Chief Barack Obama had asked Congress to repeal the 1993 law that requires homosexuals to remain in the closet if they serve in the U.S. military. The House has already voted to scrap it. And the Senate has promised to take up repeal, likely in a lame duck session.

Even Defense Secretary Robert Gates and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Adm. Mike Mullen, support repeal - although not before December, when the Pentagon is scheduled to complete its review of how to implement the change.

Incorporating openly gay service members will raise issues that will require deft handling, such as housing, survivors' benefits and even same-sex couples. But the question for the military is how to do it, not whether to do it.

"Don't ask, don't tell'' was never anything more than a politically expedient way for President Bill Clinton to defuse the explosive issue of allowing gay people to serve openly in the military. Now it seems Obama, too, is bowing to politics in delaying the demise of this law. Gay people willing to risk their lives for this country should be allowed to serve proudly and openly. The time to ensure that right has arrived. hN