WASHINGTON (BP)--With the future of the military's policy on homosexual service possibly being decided in Congress this week, conservative groups are hurriedly working to get their members to contact key legislators who may determine the future of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell."
'This process is saying to (military personnel) that their views, concerns, insights and perspectives do not matter.'
-- retired Marine General John Sheehan
It easily is the biggest threat to the law since it passed Congress with bipartisan support in 1993, and supporters say its repeal will hurt military readiness, cohesion, privacy, retention and recruitment, as well as the religious liberty of many conservative personnel and chaplains.
Congress and the White House reached a deal Monday whereby the House and Senate will vote on repealing the policy, although such a repeal would not go into effect until after the Pentagon completes a study in December on the issue. As part of the compromise President Obama, Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Michael Mullen also would have to OK the policy's repeal, although all three are on record as supporting a repeal.
Opponents of the policy are in a hurry to act because Democrats are expected to lose seats in November and opponents see their window of opportunity closing to reverse the law. The policy prohibits homosexuals from serving openly.
Conservatives Tuesday were pointing to a new Zogby poll which found that among likely voters, 59 percent said the decision on the policy "is best" made by the military. Twenty-three percent said Congress should make the decision. The poll was commissioned by the Family Research Council.
Both sides say the vote count is too close to call. The Senate Armed Services Committee, where Democrats hold a 16-12 edge, is expected to vote on the issue Thursday as an amendment to the defense spending bill. The full House, also controlled by Democrats, also could vote on it Thursday. Read More