John McCain said today he would "absolutely filibuster" any attempt to repeal the "don't ask, don't tell" policy on gay men and women serving openly in the military if it came to the Senate.
"Absolutely I will filibuster or stop it from being brought up until we have a thorough and complete study on the effect of morale and battle effectiveness," the four-term incumbent Republican senator from Arizona told KPNX-TV in Phoenix on the station's "Sunday Square Off." "That is the position of the four service chiefs."
McCain, who this year is seeking his fifth term in the Senate, said he still wants the four military service chiefs to review the policy and then provide their advice.
On Monday, a federal judge in California ordered an immediate, worldwide halt to the enforcement of the "don't ask, don't tell" policy that bans openly gay and lesbian individuals from serving in the U.S. military.
U.S. District Court Judge Virginia Phillips ruled last month that the policy is unconstitutional and should be ended immediately. But Phillips gave the Obama administration two weeks to make the case against a worldwide injunction.
The Obama administration is appealing the judge's decision, taking the stand that Congress should end the compromise measure introduced by former President Bill Clinton in 1993.
McCain Says He Would 'Absolutely Filibuster' Any 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' Repeal Attempt
McCain's filibuster comment is in sharp contrast to statements he made when discussing the "don't ask, don't tell" policy in 2006.
"The day that the leadership of the military comes to me and says, 'Senator, we ought to change the policy,' then I think we ought to consider seriously changing it," he told an audience of Iowa State University students in October 2006.
Speaking with KPNX-TV today, McCain also commented on the repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell by Judge Virginia Phillips of Federal District Court for the Central District of California last week.
"Even the Obama administration and [Defense Secretary Robert Gates] said that should be done by Congress, not by a federal judge," McCain said. "This kind of thing enrages me, but it also enrages the majority of Americans in my view. So there's great legitimacy to their complaints about how to control government and judicial activism.
"I will go as far as the four service chiefs are now advocating that we do. We have a complete and thorough survey into the impact of a repeal of 'don't ask, don't tell,'" McCain said. "I will be largely guided by the results to that survey. "