WASHINGTON - Today, Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.), a retired Navy Captain and Vietnam War veteran, issued the following statement in response to the Senate's 65 to 31 vote to repeal “Don't Ask, Don't Tell”:
“Along with a number of my colleagues, I have sought the counsel of Defense Secretary Bob Gates on this contentious and difficult matter over the course of the past year. I agree with the Secretary and with Admiral Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, that the time has come to repeal the law that requires young men and women to lie about who they are in order to serve their country. Having said that, however, I also agree with them that this must be done in a way that eases the military into this change over time so that it does not adversely affect military readiness, recruitment or morale.
“The proposal before us seeks to do exactly this. It will empower Secretary Gates and our military leaders to begin to carefully implement a repeal of ‘Don't Ask, Don't Tell’ in the months ahead. Repeal is not something that’s going to happen overnight. The Secretary and the Joint Chiefs are going to do this in a deliberate and responsible way, and it’s going to take some time. Our military leaders have made it clear that they want Congress to act now, though, to enable them to begin to implement this repeal of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ in a thoughtful manner, rather than have the courts force an end to ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ overnight. I support that approach and stand behind Secretary Gates and our nation’s other military leaders as they prepare to lead our military and our nation through this historic transition.”