US National Security Adviser James Jones said Sunday that President Barack Obama is committed to fulfilling his campaign promise to repeal the ban on gays in the military.
But Jones stressed that Obama has “an awful lot” on his plate, as the United States remains embroiled in wars in both Afghanistan and Iraq and the young US administration facing difficult legislative battles over health care reform.
“I know this is an issue that he (Obama) intends to take on at the appropriate time,” Jones told CNN’s “State of the Union.”
“The Defense Department is doing the things it has to do to prepare, but at the right time, I’m sure the president will take it on.”
Senate Majority leader Harry Reid has appealed to Obama and Defense Secretary Robert Gates to come to Congress with recommendations on how to repeal the 1993 law that forbids gays from openly serving in the armed services.
The Obama administration has said it supports repealing the ban at some point but has made clear no immediate action is on the horizon.
Since the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” rule was introduced in 1993, more than 12,000 US service members have been discharged under the policy. The rule requires gays to keep quiet about their sexual orientation or face expulsion.
In June, Gates said he had asked his advisers to examine whether the existing law could be enforced with more “flexibility.”