(CNSNews.com) – The chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee told CNSNews.com Friday that he supports overturning the law that prohibits homosexuals from serving in the military.
Speaking at a news briefing Friday, Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.) said that he has always supported overturning a law that says homosexuality is incompatible with military service.
“That’s been my position consistently,” Levin said, when asked whether he would support repealing the ban. “Whether and how we get to that is an open issue.”
Levin would not say whether he will introduce legislation to overturn the ban. But he did say he would be “exploring,” along with his Senate colleagues, whether to try and overturn the ban during the current legislative year.
“I’m going to be working with colleagues to see what kind of support there is for it and where along the process we can take that issue,” Levin explained.
Levin’s support dovetails with the goals of President Obama who has pledged via the White House website to allow homosexuals to serve openly in the military.
The pledge, which is not found under the ‘Defense’ section of the president’s agenda but under the ‘Civil Rights’ section, says the president thinks the only requirement for military service should be “a desire to serve.”
“The key test for military service should be patriotism, a sense of duty, and a willingness to serve. Discrimination should be prohibited,” the site says.
Accomplishing this goal will require congressional action because the ban is part of the legal code government the armed forces.
The law was enacted in 1993, codifying longstanding miltary regulations, after President Bill Clinton explored opening the military to homosexuals and ended up instituting the so-called "don't ask, don't tell" policy in which the military stopped asking recruits if they werew homosexual. The law stating that homosexuals were ineligible to serve in the military passed the House 264-169 and the Senate 63-33.
The law, Public Law 103-160, Section 654, Title 10, states that anyone who is a homosexual must be removed from the military.
“A member of the armed forces shall be separated from the armed forces under regulations prescribed by the Secretary of Defense if one or more of the following findings is made,” the law states.
Additionally, it establishes that armed forces personnel will be removed if they “engage in, attempt to engage in, or solicit someone to engage in a homosexual act” – or if the service member “has stated that he or she is a homosexual or bisexual” or “has married or attempted to marry a person known to be of the same biological sex.”