Rep. Frank: ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ to be Repealed Next Year

By Britt

Nov 12, 2009 11:11am

ABC News’ Rick Klein reports: House Democrats and the White House have agreed to a strategy that will repeal the military's ban on gays serving openly in the military next year, according to Rep. Barney Frank, a key point person on legislation impacting gay rights. Frank, D-Mass., told ABC News that House and Senate leaders as well as the White House have agreed repeal "don't ask, don't tell" as part of next year's Defense Department authorization bill, the annual measure governing operations in the armed services. "It will be done, as we have said all along that it would be," Frank said. "It's being done as we said we would do it — and on that timetable." The legislative strategy, which Frank discussed this week in an interview with the Washington Blade, an LGBT newspaper, is roughly similar to the legislative avenue pursued this year to pass a long-stalled anti-hate crimes measure. That bill, making it a federal crime to assault someone because of their sexual orientation, disability, or gender identity, was included in the 2009 Defense authorization bill signed into law by President Obama last month. While a separate bill can be shelved or delayed endlessly in either chamber of Congress, including something in a "must-pass" bill like Defense authorization guarantees full consideration by both the House and Senate. Frank said the plan has always been to help the president keep his campaign promise of ending "don't ask, don't tell" in 2010. That timetable gives Obama a chance to first deal with immediate military concerns, and to establish relationships with military leaders, Frank said. "The president needed to have time to deal with Iraq and Afghanistan," he said.

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