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Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Come out Come out where ever you are--from CNN "Gates to unveil plan to abandon "don't ask, don't tell)

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Gates to unveil plan to abandon 'don't ask, don't tell'

February 2, 2010 7:40 a.m. EST
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STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Plan to abandon policy will go before the Senate Armed Services Committee
  • 'Don't ask, don't tell' was implemented 15 years ago under the Clinton administration
  • Plan to repeal policy regarding gays in the military has met mixed reviews
RELATED TOPICS
Washington (CNN) -- Defense Secretary Robert Gates will go before the Senate Armed Services Committee on Tuesday, where he is expected to unveil the Pentagon's plan for rolling back the controversial "don't ask, don't tell" policy regarding gay and lesbian service members.
During last week's State of the Union address, President Obama made clear he wanted a change.
"This year, I will work with Congress and our military to finally repeal the law that denies gay Americans the right to serve the country they love because of who they are," he said, to a healthy round of partisan applause.
The Joint Chiefs of Staff sat stone-faced as the president made the announcement and have been quiet on the matter since the State of the Union speech.
A senior Pentagon official told CNN the military leaders are expected to support the president, but also will tell him to what extent they think allowing gays to openly serve will hurt the morale and readiness of the force.
"All they want is a little bit of time" to come up with ideas on how to implement a change in the policy, if it's approved by Congress, the official said of the Joint Chiefs.
The policy, implemented by President Clinton in 1993, bars openly gay, lesbian and bisexual individuals from serving in the U.S. military, and prevents the military from asking them about it.
As a first step, Gates is expected to call for no longer discharging people who are outed by others.
Since the policy was implemented, more than 13,500 service members have been discharged, according to Rep. Jim Moran, D-Virginia. In 2009, there were 428 discharges under the policy -- the lowest rate of discharge since implementation of the policy, he said. The highest year was 2001, with 1,227 discharges, he said.