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Army Secretary John McHugh Nixes SUNY-Oswego Graduation To Defuse Protest

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OSWEGO, N.Y. — Army Secretary John McHugh says he won't attend a New York state university's commencement because a planned protest against the military's "don't ask, don't tell" rule might disrupt the ceremony.

McHugh was to receive an honorary degree Saturday from the State University of New York at Oswego. He represented northern New York as a Republican congressman.

Some faculty, staff and students planned to wear buttons supporting repeal of the law that prohibits gays from serving openly in the military, and a few students planned a protest.

McHugh mistakenly suggested in March that the ban had been suspended. He quickly backtracked, saying the Army will uphold the policy as long as it's the law.

President Barack Obama supports repeal and the Pentagon is studying whether that would harm the services.