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Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York said Wednesday that she
anticipates the hearing for Clifford Stanley, a retired general who has
been nominated to a key post in the Department of Defense, will precede Senate hearings on the "don't ask, don't tell" policy.
"I expect that the hearing on 'don't ask, don't tell' will take place next month after the confirmation hearing for marine general Clifford Stanley," said Gillibrand, who met with Defense Department officials Tuesday to discuss the military's gay ban. "There is a lot more support in Congress for full repeal of DADT than people realize."
Neither hearing has been officially scheduled yet and a spokesperson for the Senate Armed Services Committee could not be reached in time for the posting of this article.
Stanley was nominated by President Barack Obama last week as the undersecretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness -- the position within the Defense Department that oversees the "don't ask, don't tell" policy.
A spokesperson for Senator Gillibrand indicated that Stanley's hearings could be very decisive.
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"The Senator's view is that this will be the hearing to watch and a
critical prelude to the public debate about 'don't ask, don't tell,'"
Matt Canter said.
Stanley's opinion on the military's gay ban is not explicitly known but the repeal lobby group Servicemembers Legal Defense Network issued a statement of support for his nomination last week.
"There were indications of seriousness of purpose on DADT repeal today by this White House with its intent to nominate an Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness," said spokesperson Kevin Nix of SLDN.
Stanley served 33 years in the U.S. Marine Corps, became the Marines' first African-American regimental commander, and retired in 2002 as a two-star general. Most recently, Stanley was the president of Scholarship America, the nation's largest nonprofit, private-sector scholarship organization.
More information about Stanley's background can be found here.