United States Senator John McCain, a candidate for the 2008 Republican presidential nomination, has reiterated his support for the military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” ban on lesbian, gay and bisexual service members.

In a letter to Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (SLDN), McCain says the law, passed in 1993, “unambiguously maintains that open homosexuality within the military services presents an intolerable risk to morale, cohesion and discipline.”

In his letter, Senator McCain says that, “I believe polarisation of personnel and breakdown of unit effectiveness is too high a price to pay for well-intentioned but misguided efforts to elevate the interests of a minority of homosexual service members above those of their units. Most importantly, the national security of the United States, not to mention the lives of our men and women in uniform, are put at grave risk by policies detrimental to the good order and discipline which so distinguish America’s Armed Services.”

McCain, who voted in favor of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” in 1993, says “I remain opposed to the open expression of homosexuality in the U.S. military.”

“Senator McCain’s comments are out of step with the overwhelming majority of the American people, and out of touch with the best interests of our armed forces,” said Sharra E. Greer, SLDN’s director of law and policy.

In contrast to McCain’s views, a growing number of prominent Republicans now support repeal of the ban on open service. In the U.S. House of Representatives, a bi-partisan coalition of 123 lawmakers now supports legislation to repeal the law.

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