Sen. Hatch Hints At Supporting Repeal Of 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell'
February 03, 2010 4:14 pm ET by Matt Finkelstein
Led by Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), congressional Republicans are resisting President Obama's call to repeal the military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy in 2010. While top military officials are backing Obama's plan, several Republican lawmakers are waging a fear-based campaign to continue the ban on gay and lesbian service members.
Today, Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) broke with members of his party who are defending the discriminatory policy. During an interview on MSNBC, Hatch told Andrea Mitchell that "there are very outstanding, patriotic gay people who serve in the military," adding that "they shouldn't have to lie about being gay." However, asked directly if he would vote for the repeal, Hatch was noncommittal. "I'd have to look at it," he said:
HATCH: Well, I think people are very concerned. I believe there are very outstanding, patriotic gay people who serve in the military, and they ought to be given credit for it. And they shouldn't have to lie about being gay. On the other hand, I think a lot of people are concerned that if you do away with the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," that literally then they'll come back and ask for special rights and preferences and privileges that others don't have. I don't see that either. So, like I say, I just plain do not believe in any prejudice of any kind.
Hatch's claim that he does not believe in "any prejudice of any kind" is far from true. He is a fervent opponent of same-sex marriage, having co-sponsored a constitutional marriage amendment in the past. That said, his cautious stand against discrimination in the military is a step in the right direction.