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Army Secretary: Military Ready To Lift Ban On Openly Gay Service

First Posted: 03/18/10 06:12 AM ET Updated: 05/25/11 03:30 PM ET

In an interview with the Army Times published Sunday, Secretary of the Army John McHugh indicated that the army would be ready to lift the ban on gays serving openly if both Congress and President Obama decided to repeal "don't ask, don't tell." The ending of the policy has come to seem more likely in recent weeks, with Obama reaffirming his campaign pledge to do so in a speech at the annual dinner of the Human Rights Campaign, a gay civil rights advocacy group. "We should not be punishing patriotic Americans who have stepped forward to serve the country," Obama said, though he did not offer a timetable regarding when such action might be taken.

McHugh speculated that gays might be allowed to serve in some units but not others, while also stressing that no such plans had been discussed. More importantly, he told the Army Times there was no reason to believe major disruption would ensue in the army if the ban was lifted.

"Anytime you have a broad-based policy change, there are challenges to that," he said. "The Army has a big history of taking on similar issues, [with] predictions of doom and gloom that did not play out."
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Filed by Nicholas Sabloff  |