Rep. Alcee Hastings (D-FL) said yesterday that he withdrew an amendment to a defense appropriations bill that would have weakened the military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy because of “pressure” from the White House and some “congressional colleagues.” Hastings’ amendment would have prohibited “spending money to investigate or discharge members of the military who reveal they are homosexual or bisexual.” Saying he didn’t want “to get into names,” Hastings added, “I didn’t talk to Barack Obama.” During an appearance with MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow last night, Hastings expressed his agitation:
HASTINGS: If something is bigoted and if your intent is to see to it that it does not continue, then I did not understand the leadership of Congress or the White House in saying that the time is not right. My position is: The president has said he wishes that this matter be repealed. My colleague, Patrick Murphy, now has more than 170 co-sponsors on a measure to repeal it. Secretary Gates has said, I`m glad he is now saying when we change our policy. Last year, he would have been saying “if.” But my view is, that the time is now to eliminate this bigoted law once and for all.
Earlier this month, Defense Secretary Robert Gates told reporters that, until the law is repealed, he is looking at ways to make the application of it more “humane.”