Gates: I’m looking at ways to ensure gays are not kicked out of military based on personal vendettas.

Earlier this month, Defense Secretary Robert Gates announced that he was considering a temporary solution that would allow gays to serve in the military until the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy is changed by Congress. Gates said he was looking for “a more humane way to comply with the law until the law gets changed.” Last night, Gates delivered an address at the Economic Club of Chicago, where he fleshed out his views in greater detail. “This is a difficult challenge for us, and there’s no reason to soft-pedal it,” Gates said. He went on to explain examples of “humane” applications of the law that he’s looking at:

One example of that might be — what if we did not take into account third parties trying to harm somebody who may be gay in the service. Somebody who may have a vendetta, or hatred toward somebody, and therefore out them as a way to wreck their career. Is there a way we can not focus on those kinds of reports.

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“Before we can change what we do,” Gates said, “the Congress has to change the law.” In fact, the Center for American Progress recently released a report explaining that, while the administration waits for Congress to repeal the law, the president has the authority under the “stop-loss” provision to issue an Executive Order banning further military separations based on DADT.