House Armed Services Committee chairman Rep. Bud McKeon and Rep. Joe Wilson have asked for a delay in “don’t ask, don’t tell” repeal, set for September 20, because the committee has not received a summary of policy changes on benefits and other matters, they write.
“The Department is not ready to implement the repeal because all the policies and regulations necessary for the transition are not yet final,” the two Republican congressmen wrote in a letter dated September 12. “We would ask that the senior military leaders' memoranda immediately be made public and transmitted to the Committee on Armed Services.” (Fox News has a report and link to the letter here.)
A Pentagon spokesman confirmed that the repeal date will stand, however.
“The repeal of 'don’t ask, don’t tell' will occur, in accordance with the law and after a rigorous certification process, on September 20,” the Pentagon spokesman said. “Senior Department of Defense officials have advised Congress of changes to regulations and policies associated with repeal. We take that obligation seriously.”
Update: Servicemembers Legal Defense Network executive director Aubrey Sarvis issued the following statement on the letter from McKeon and Wilson:
“This is another example of the hardcore opposition attempting to delay or undo 'don’t ask, don’t tell' repeal. I expect they will continue to look for openings to deny gay and lesbian service members the same rights and dignity as their straight counterparts. On the substance, Mr. McKeon and Mr. Wilson are simply wrong. The statute only requires that the new regulations be prepared — not issued — before certification.”