Responding to criticism that the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell repeal compromise doesn’t end the policy fast enough or provide enough safeguards to ensure eventual repeal, Rep. Patrick Murphy (D-PA) — the lead sponsor of repeal in the House — said, in an exclusive interview with the Wonk Room, that he expected “Secretary of Defense Gates and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mullen” to certify the Defense Authority “shortly after” it is completed.
Murphy admitted that the compromise did not replace DADT with a new nondiscrimination policy — as his original repeal legislation would have done — but expressed confidence that Gates would institute one anyway. “The Secretary of Defense and the Chairman could put clearly a policy in place that would not discriminate against men and women because of their sexual orientation. And I have full confidence that they will,” he said:
ON SWIFT REPEAL:
I take both Secretary of Defense Gates and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mullen at their word and that they both have articulated the need to repeal Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell and that I believe our agreement is a smart agreement and that it truly dismantles Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. But it pays respect and honors the Pentagon Study Group that they’re formulating.
Q: Can you give any kind of estimate of how long you think it would take after the study is out for it to be certified?
I would think it would be shortly after.
ON INSTITUTING A NONDISCRIMINATION POLICY:
I’m fully confident in the public testimony of both Secretary of Defense Gates of Chairman Mike Mullen and our current Commander in Chief, Barack Obama, that they have been very clear that they want to have a nondiscriminatory policy in place. Having a nondiscriminatory policy in place was impossible because U.S. law for 17 years was that we’ll continue discrimination that we currently do as under Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. The Secretary of Defense and the Chairman could put clearly a policy in place that would not discriminate against men and women because of their sexual orientation. And I have full confidence that they will.”
Listen to highlights:
Murphy also responded to Chief of Naval Operations’ G. Roughead’s recent claim that adopting legislative changes ahead of the study “may cause confusion on the status of the law in the Fleet and disrupt the review process itself by leading Sailors to question whether their input matters.” “I think that to say that the American troop isn’t as professional as a 26 other countries that allow their troops to serve openly, is, frankly, not appropriate.”
Asked if he thought the administration did all it could to bring about repeal, Murphy joked, ” I think Patrick Murphy could have done more in retrospect. Everyone can work harder and work smarter.”