Gates Makes It Harder to Kick Out Gay Soldiers

Discharges will now require testimony, general's approval
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Mar 25, 2010 5:39 AM CDT
Gates Makes It Harder to Kick Out Gay Soldiers
Defense Secretary Robert Gates testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, March 24, 2010, before a House Defense subcommittee hearing on the Defense Department's budget overview.    (Manuel Balce Ceneta)

Discharging a gay person for violating the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy will draw unprecedented scrutiny under new orders from Defense Secretary Robert Gates, who is already pushing to repeal the ban on gays serving openly in the US military. Guidelines to be announced today call for testimony from third parties to be given under oath, and require all discharges to be cleared by an officer with a rank equivalent to a one-star general or higher, military sources say.

The goal is to ensure that the law is applied fairly and consistently across the military and that flimsy testimony from third parties is eliminated, the officials said. The plan is considered a stopgap measure until Congress decides whether to repeal the 1993 law. Obama and Gates want the ban lifted, though Gates says he wants to move slowly, and has ordered an internal assessment on how best to go about it. (More Robert Gates stories.)

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