Senator John McCain

Senator John McCain is continuing to push against the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”, surprisingly pitting himself against the US military leadership.

McCain has again criticised the Pentagon’s recently released study which showed that the vast majority of service members would not be opposed to serving with gay colleagues. He also said that the lifting of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” would be premature.

“At this time, we should be inherently cautious about making any changes that would affect our military, and what changes we do make should be the product of careful and deliberate consideration,” McCain said.

He and other Republicans are set to oppose the move to repeal the ban on gay and lesbian service members as hearings on the matter continue in the Senate.

Speaking before the Senate Armed Services Committee this week, senior uniformed and civilian military leaders, who usually have the backing of Republicans, seem to be firmly behind the repeal.

Defence Secretary Robert Gates, Joint Chiefs Chairman Mike Mullen, General Carter Ham and Pentagon General Counsel Jeh Johnson stated that the repeal can be implemented without any long term consequence.

“Today was a bad day for John McCain. No one made a more powerful argument for repeal today than Admiral Mullen,” said Aubrey Sarvis, Army veteran and executive director for Servicemembers Legal Defense Network.

“In a measured, methodical fashion Admiral Mullen addressed and destroyed each one of McCain’s irrational fears about open service. It is now painfully transparent that for McCain, it’s all politics.”

Sarvis’ comments were echoed by Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese.

“After more than twenty studies from both the military and outside organisations, it is time for this debate to close,” said Solmonese. “Further, a failure of Congress to act now will tie the hands of military leaders who have asked for the power to implement the changes that their research lays out. The time for repeal is now.”

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