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Byrd Backs DADT Compromise

Byrd Backs DADT Compromise


In a step toward repealing "don't ask, don't tell," Sen. Robert Byrd says he will support the deal that was struck Monday to repeal the policy that bars gays and lesbians from serving openly in the military.

"I did not want to blindly assent to repealing this law without giving the Congress an opportunity to re-examine the concerns of our Armed Forces and the manner in which they are being addressed," the West Virginia Democrat said Wednesday in a statement. "Therefore, I worked with the Senate and House Leadership, Senators Lieberman and Levin, Congressman Murphy, the Administration and the Department of Defense to include a provision in the proposed compromise amendment that would delay the repeal of the 'don't ask, don't tell' policy for 60 days after receipt of the findings of the Pentagon Review and the determination of the proposed policy and regulation changes."

Byrd, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, joins Nebraska Democrat Ben Nelson, who was also seen as a key vote in overturning the ban.

The compromise, which is likely to be voted on Thursday, has the support of President Barack Obama, Defense secretary Robert Gates, and Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman Adm. Michael Mullen. The compromise would have Congress include the repeal legislation in this year's defense authorization measure.

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