Scott Brown Statement On Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell
WASHINGTON, DC — U.S. Senator Scott Brown (R-MA) today issued the following statement on the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy:
“I have been in the military for 31 years and counting, and have served as a subordinate and as an officer. As a legislator, I have spent a significant amount of time on military issues. During my time of service, I have visited our injured troops at Walter Reed and have attended funerals of our fallen heroes. When a soldier answers the call to serve, and risks life or limb, it has never mattered to me whether they are gay or straight. My only concern has been whether their service and sacrifice is with pride and honor.
“I pledged to keep an open mind about the present policy on Don’t Ask Don’t Tell. Having reviewed the Pentagon report, having spoken to active and retired military service members, and having discussed the matter privately with Defense Secretary Gates and others, I accept the findings of the report and support repeal based on the Secretary’s recommendations that repeal will be implemented only when the battle effectiveness of the forces is assured and proper preparations have been completed.”
Apparently an announcement was expected, from Salon, Is Scott Brown Boxed In on DADT?
According to his office, Brown will announce his position after committee’s hearings wrap up today, but it seems clear which way he’s leaning. If he does opt to support repeal, it won’t by itself change much. With Mark Kirk’s swearing-in last week, Republicans now have 42 seats in the Senate, so Democrats need two GOP votes to break any filibuster (at least for the next few weeks). But if Brown is willing to buck his party, it could be a sign that the chamber’s few other moderate Republicans — essentially, Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe, and maybe Richard Lugar and the retiring George Voinovich — are willing to cross over, too.
Granted, it isn’t a commitment to defy the GOP filibuster. But, it is very good news, moving the conversation in the right direction and I’ve never felt more optimistic.
Update: Here’s an excerpt from MassEquality’s press release. MassEquality was heavily involved in lobbying Sen. brown. Emphasis added.
“While we are happy that Sen. Brown has said that he will support repeal of the law, our work is not over. Sen. Brown’s support to end “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” will mean little if he is not one of the 60 senators needed to prevent a Republican filibuster preventing a vote on the Defense Authorization Act, which includes a provision that would repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”
Update from Lurleen: And check out this video from ThinkProgress. Sen Udall today asked each admiral down the line whether they could implement the changes if charged to do so. “Yes”, “yes”, “yes”…
Seventeen years ago when open service was last debated in the Senate a similar panel was asked the wrong question, whether homosexuality was compatible or incompatible with military service. We all know the answer. Times have changed, have they not?