Scott Keyes provided the video for this report from Pompano Beach, Florida.
Several potential GOP presidential candidates have promised to re-impose Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell if they win the White House in 2012, despite the ongoing training and imminent repeal of the 1993 ban against open gay service in the armed forces. But not all Republicans believe that reinstating the ban is a practical or even desirable solution.
On Tuesday, during a town hall in Pompano Beach, Florida, Rep. Allen West (R) — a strong supporter of the policy — suggested that the debate over Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell was over and that he would not work to bring back the ban:
Q: What are you doing to prevent Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell from being repealed?
WEST: I’m not doing anything to prevent Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. The thing that I’m doing is…Look, a decision has been made. You have a military to salute the flag….Let’s see what happens. I can tell you being a commander in the United States military, I would not have supported changing that Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. Now it has been done. I will sit back to see what happens.
As West indicated, Republicans have included an amendment in the defense authorization bill that would add the service chiefs to the certification process for repealing Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. Currently, the law cannot be repealed until 60 days after the president, the defense secretary and the chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff certify the U.S. military is ready for open service. The amendment passed in a vote of 33–27, with two Republicans voting against and one Democrats supporting the measure.
The service chiefs have previously indicated that they trusted Secretary of Defense Robert Gates to address their concerns before eliminating the policy and warned Republicans that expanding the certification process could actually undermine the chain of command.