Alaska delegation split on 'don't ask, don't tell'

Posted: Friday, May 28, 2010

FAIRBANKS - The three members of Alaska's congressional delegation have taken different positions on the question of whether to overturn the "don't ask, don't tell" policy that requires gays serving in the military to hide their sexual orientation.

The U.S. House of Representatives is nearing a vote on whether to repeal the 1993 law. Such a policy change, however, would take not take effect until the Pentagon completes a study on its ramifications.

Julie Hasquet, spokeswoman for U.S. Sen. Mark Begich, said the Democrat supports the approach, saying the Defense Department "will have time to certify repeal can be achieved consistent with the military's standards of readiness, effectiveness, unit cohesion, and recruiting and retention."

The other members of the delegation are less supportive.

U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, a Republican, objects to having a vote before the study is finished.

"We've received several hundred constituent letters in recent weeks, with the vast majority saying don't repeal the law," she said in a statement released Wednesday.

Alaska's lone congressman, Republican Rep. Don Young, opposes a repeal, with or without the study.

"The congressman does not believe that the military is a place for promoting social change, which is why he supports the current policy, as it focuses on the performance of an individual, not their sexual orientation," Young spokeswoman Merideth Kenny said in an e-mail.

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