WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama is calling on the Senate to act to overturn the “don’t ask, don’t tell” ban on openly gay people serving in the military.
In a statement Tuesday, Obama said a new Pentagon survey confirms that most in the military don’t have a problem with serving alongside openly gay servicemembers. He said it’s time for Congress to end what he called a “discriminatory policy.” The House already has acted.
The Pentagon survey determined that overturning the “don’t ask, don’t tell” law might cause some disruption at first but would not create any widespread or long-lasting problems. Obama said he was “absolutely confident” that U.S. troops would adapt to the change and remain the best fighting force in the world.
Obama spokesman Robert Gibbs said Obama continues to believe that the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy is divisive and should be overturned through the legislative process.
Gibbs says the repeal of “don’t ask, don’t tell” was discussed during Obama’s meeting with bipartisan lawmakers Tuesday. Gibbs says Obama believes the ban on gays in the military can be repealed in the lame-duck session of Congress.
The White House is expected to release a statement from Obama on the Pentagon report later Tuesday.