WASHINGTON — The Republican chairman of the House Armed Services Committee said Thursday that allowing gays to serve openly in the military is a settled issue that he won't try to reverse even if Mitt Romney wins the presidency in November and the GOP captures the Senate.

Rep. Howard "Buck" McKeon of California said his focus is on restoring money for the military after the latest round of defense cuts – a planned reduction of $487 billion over 10 years that could nearly double if Congress fails to avert automatic, across-the-board cuts that begin in January. Pressed on the divisive issue of gay rights that roiled Congress two years ago, McKeon said he wouldn't revisit it.

"We fought that fight," McKeon told defense reporters at an hourlong breakfast interview. He said his goal is to "get the things that our war-fighters need."

The committee chairman said other GOP lawmakers might try to reinstate the "don't ask, don't tell policy" that was in effect for nearly two decades. "That's not something that I would personally bring up," he said.

He recalled that in 1994, when Republicans took control of the House after 40 years, there were high expectations for ambitious changes. "They expected us to pull off miracles. That's not how things work. I'd rather focus on money for defense," McKeon said.

Congress passed and President Barack Obama signed legislation in December 2010 repealing the policy. The change took effect last year, and military leaders have concluded that it has not affected morale or readiness. In fact, this month, the Pentagon is marking gay pride month with an official salute.

Addressing a range of issues from the automatic cuts to intelligence leaks, McKeon recommended that Congress look for a short-term solution to delay the automatic cuts and do it now rather than wait for a lame-duck congressional session after the election. He said the November elections have the potential to be the nastiest ever, especially with heavy spending by outside political groups, and that it was ridiculous to expect all sides – the president, Republicans and Democrats – to "come together in a `Kumbaya' moment."

As he said earlier this year, McKeon is willing to consider increasing revenue through taxes to avert the defense cuts, making him one of few Republicans open to that possibility. "I'm willing to look at anything," he said.

Congress is scrambling to come up with a way to avoid automatic, $1.2 trillion cuts in domestic and military programs over a decade. The failure of a bipartisan congressional supercommittee last year to come up with a deficit-cutting plan will trigger the cuts, scheduled to begin Jan. 2.

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has warned about the meat ax approach of the automatic cuts, arguing it would hollow out the force. The $492 billion, decade-long reduction would come on top of the $487 billion cut over 10 years that President Barack Obama and congressional Republicans agreed to last summer.

McKeon was one of those Republicans. He said Thursday it was a mistake, putting lawmakers in a difficult position.

Separately, the Senate voted for a measure calling on the Pentagon to release a report by Aug. 15 on the impact of the automatic cuts. The measure, backed by voice vote, also calls on the White House budget office to release a report within 30 days and the president to produce a report within 60 days on the impact on defense and domestic spending. The measure was added to the farm bill that cleared the Senate Thursday.

Calling the automatic cuts a "a terrible way to cut spending," Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., said that while Congress tries to come up with a deal to avert the cuts, "we should know exactly how the administration would enact sequestration if we don't get a deal."

Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., also backed the measure.

The recent leaks of classified information, including reports of a cyberwar against Iran and U.S. counterterrorism actions, has prompted an outcry in Congress, especially from Republicans who argue that they were intentional to enhance Obama's national security reputation in an election year.

McKeon said his committee, like the one on the Senate side, will hold a hearing on the issue. At the same time, he said he had no quarrel with some of the steps taken by the Democratic administration.

"Frankly, I'm glad to hear we're doing some of these things," he said.

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In honor of LGBT Pride Month, some interesting facts on pride:

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  • Stonewall Inn: Ground Zero

    On the early morning hours of June 28, 1969, police raided the Stonewall Inn, a gay bar in New York's Greenwich Village. Although police raids on gays bars were common, the bar's patronage, as well as more than a hundred spectators who gathered outside the bar, decided enough was enough -- they fought back. It was the first time that queer people stood up to police on such a large scale, and is often cited as the beginning of the modern Gay Rights Movement. For more information on Stonewall, check out the PBS documentary, <a href="http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/films/stonewall/" target="_hplink">Stonewall Uprising</a>. <em>Photo via yosoynuts at <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/yosoynuts/" target="_hplink">Flickr.com </a></em>

  • Corrupt Cops, Feeds Mafia

    In 1969, Stonewall Inn, as well as the majority of the city's gay bars, was owned and operated by the New York Mafia. Establishments that sold alcohol to gay customers could have their liquor licenses revoked, so mobsters paid-off police to turn a blind-eye, thereby gaining a lucrative niche market. For more information about the Mafia's ties to Stonewall, see this <a href="http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/features/general-article/stonewall-mafia/" target="_hplink">PBS report </a>. <em>Photo adapted via Dr. Who at <a href="http://www.flickr.com/people/86931652@N00/" target="_hplink">Flickr.com</a></em>

  • Stonewall Extortion

    Stonewall's mafioso owners reportedly engaged in extortion. Employees singled out wealthy patrons who were not public about their sexuality, and blackmailed them for large sums of money with the threat of being 'outed.' For more information about the Mafia's ties to Stonewall, see this <a href="http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/features/general-article/stonewall-mafia/" target="_hplink">PBS report </a>. <em>Photo via Images_of_Money at <a href="http://www.flickr.com/people/59937401@N07/" target="_hplink">Flickr.com</a> and <a href="TaxBrackets.org" target="_hplink">TaxBrackets.org</a></em>

  • Annual Reminders

    Although the Pride Movement did not galvanize until after the Stonewall Riots, there were a handful of gay rights demonstrations prior to 1969. The most direct link to the early parades were Annual Reminders. Every fourth of July, beginning in 1965, homophilic groups would picket Independence Hall in Philadelphia to inform and remind the American people that LGBT people did not enjoy basic civil rights protections. After Stonewall, picketing seemed too pacifistic, and Reminder organizers instead helped plan the first Gay Liberation parades. <em>Photo via ericbeato at <a href="http://www.flickr.com/people/ericbeato/" target="_hplink">Flickr.com</a></em>

  • Lambda

    The Greek Lambda symbol was another commonly used Gay Rights symbol prior to the Rainbow Flag, and was the sign of the Gay Activist Aliance. Photo via <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Greek_lc_lamda_thin.svg" target="_hplink">Wikimedia Commons</a>

  • The First Flag

    The first rainbow flag made its debut at the San Francisco Pride Parade in 1978. Designed by San Francisco artist Gilbert Baker, the original flag was hand-dyed and consisted of eight symbolic colors: Hot Pink (sexuality), Red (life), Orange (healing), Yellow (sunlight), Green (nature), Turqoise (magic/art), Blue (serenity/harmony) and violet (spirit). <em>Photo via <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Gay_flag_8.svg" target="_hplink">Wikimedia Commons</a> </em>

  • Dropping Stripes

    To meet increasing demand for the flag, Baker approached Paramount Flag Company for mass production. There was an unavailability of hot pink baric, so Baker dropped the hot pink stripe from the design. To keep an even number of stripes, turquoise was also dropped, resulting in the six-stripe flag that is widely used today. <em>Photo via torbakhopper at <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/gazeronly/" target="_hplink">Flickr.com</a> </em>

  • 'Gay' Becomes Okay

    The first gay rights group to use the word 'gay' in their name was the Gay Liberation Front, which was formed In the immediate wake of the Stonewall Riots. Whereas previous organizations, such as the Mattachine Society and the Daughters of Bilitis, had deliberately chosen obscure names, the GLF believed directedness was necessary, as exemplified by a slogan on one of their fliers: "Do You Think Homosexuals Are Revolting? You Bet Your Sweet Ass We Are!" For more information on the GLF, check out <a href="http://www.outhistory.org/wiki/Gay_Liberation_Front" target="_hplink">this site</a>. <em>Photo via Elvert Barnes at <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/perspective/" target="_hplink">Flickr.com</a></em>

  • Oldest LGBT Organization

    The oldest surviving LGBT organization in the world is Netherland's Center for Culture and Leisure (COC), which was founded in 1946, and used a 'cover name' to mask its taboo purpose. For more information on the COC, check out their <a href="http://www.coc.nl/dopage.pl?thema=any&pagina=algemeen&algemeen_id=274" target="_hplink">site</a>. <em>Photo via Tambako the Jaguar at <a href="http://www.flickr.com/people/tambako/" target="_hplink">Flickr.com</a>.</em>

  • Wild in the San Francisco Woods

    In 1976, San Francisco's Getty Center was undergoing renovation, and couldn't host the post-Pride parade celebrations. Instead, the festival site was moved to the Golden Gate Park. Confronted with uncharacteristically intense heat, many attendees shed most, or all, of their clothing. When the sound system failed, scantily-clad celebrators took to the woods for shade and entertainment, and the festival became one of the craziest San Francisco has ever seen. A year later, the 'Save Our Children' campaign cited the wild wood celebrations as evidence of homosexual godlessness and immorality. For a firsthand account of this, and other, Pride festivals in San Francisco, <a href="http://thecastro.net/parade/parade/parade.html" target="_hplink">click here</a>. Photo via jdnx at <a href="www.flickr.com/people/danramarch/" target="_hplink">Flickr.com</a>

  • The Rise of 'Pride'

    Early marches commonly used 'Gay Liberation,' and 'Freedom,' in their names. Then, with cultural changes and decreased militancy in the 1980s and 1990s, these words became less frequent, and the term 'Gay Pride,' became commonly used. <em>Photo via illuminator999 at <a href="www.flickr.com/people/illuminator999/" target="_hplink">Flickr.com</a></em>

  • Giant Flag

    In 1994, Baker led the creation of a mile-long Rainbow Flag, to honor the 25th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots. The Guinness Book of World Records recognized it as the world's largest flag. <em>Photo via <a href="http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Thelmadatter" target="_hplink">Thelmadatter</a> at <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:HugeFlagMarchaDF2.JPG" target="_hplink">Wikimedia Commons</a></em>

  • Island-Long Pride Flag

    The longest Rainbow Flag used in a Pride celebration was unfurled in Key West, Florida, for the flag's 25th anniversary in 2003. Dubbed "25Rainbow Sea to Sea," the 1.25 mile long flag stretched across the entire island, traveling from the Atlantic Ocean to the Gulf Coast Sea. Following the celebration, the flag was cut-up and sent to Pride celebrations around the world. <em>Photo via torbakhopper at <a href="http://www.flickr.com/people/gazeronly/" target="_hplink">Flickr.com</a> </em>

  • Pride in Sao Paulo

    With an estimated 3.5 million attendees in 2011, Sao Paulo, Brazil, hosts the world's largest Pride parade. For more information about Sao Paulo Pride, check out their <a href="http://www.gaypridebrazil.org/sao-paulo/" target="_hplink">site</a>.

  • Europride

    Europe has a pan-European international Pride event, called, appropriately, Europride. The event is hosted by a different European city each year. For information on upcoming events, check out Europride's <a href="http://www.europride.com/spip.php?rubrique1" target="_hplink">site</a>. <em>Photo via Daquellamanera at <a href="http://www.flickr.com/people/daquellamanera/" target="_hplink">Flickr.com</a> </em>

  • Floating Floats

    Amsterdam hosts the only Pride parade whose floats literally float on water, as 100 decorated boats travel through the city's famed canals. For information on Amsterdam Pride, check out their <a href="http://www.amsterdamgaypride.nl/" target="_hplink">site</a>. <em>Photo via cgeorgatou at <a href="http://www.flickr.com/people/cgeorgatou/" target="_hplink">Flickr.com</a></em>

  • Loner South Africa

    South Africa is home to the only Pride celebrations on the African continent. Two of the most notable are in<a href="http://joburgpride.org/" target="_hplink"> Johannesburg</a> and <a href="http://www.capetownpride.org/" target="_hplink">Cape Town</a>. The inaugural Joburg Pride parade was held in 1990 with fewer than one thousand participants but has grown considerably throughout the years, with over 20,000 participants in 2009. <em>Photo via <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Gay_Flag_of_South_Africa.svg" target="_hplink">Wikimedia Commons </a></em>

  • Raining on Australia's Parade

    Each year before the <a href="http://www.mardigras.org.au/about-us/history/index.cfm" target="_hplink">Sydney LGBT Mardis Gras</a> is held, <a href="http://www.smh.com.au/news/national/the-power-of-one/2008/01/04/1198950075839.html" target="_hplink">Fred Nile</a>, a member of the New South Wales Legislative Council and a former minister of the Uniting Church in Australia, leads a prayer for rain on the event. Although it has rained some years, the Australian event has sustained as one of best LGBT festivals in the world. Photo via Jon Shave at <a href="http://www.flickr.com/people/shavejonathan/" target="_hplink">Flickr.com</a>