Republican senator Lisa Murkowski of Alaska said she would vote to lift
the ban on gays and lesbians serving openly in the military, as a
possible vote to repeal the 17-year-old law draws closer.
"America is the loser when it denies those who are willing to make the great sacrifices demanded of our men and women in uniform the opportunity do so on grounds of sexual orientation," she said in a statement Wednesday.
Murkowski added that she, like fellow senator Susan Collins, would support moving the defense authorization bill — which contains the "don't ask, don't tell" repeal amendment — forward to a vote in the Senate, only if there is a full debate and amendment process. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has been in negotiations with Collins to allow an amendment process before the bill comes up for a vote.
Murkowski acknowledged that the repeal of "don't ask, don't tell" has raised concerns among some military leaders, but she said, "Through their leadership and devotion to ensuring that our military remains the world’s premier fighting force, I believe this policy can be successfully repealed with minimal risk to unit effectiveness. I trust that the Service Chiefs will develop and execute a plan to implement the [Department of Defense] report recommendations as well as ensure that post-repeal policies and regulations are addressed in such a way that the standards of military readiness and effectiveness, unit cohesion, and recruiting and retention are not negatively impacted."