Fight over Gay Military Ban Not a Done Deal

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Gay advocates are celebrating what appears to be the first steps in allowing homosexuals to serve openly in the military -- but it's not a done deal yet.

Opponents say they're willing to vote against military funding in order to keep the policy from changing.

The House voted 234 -194, Thursday, to overturn the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy against homosexuals serving openly in the military. With that vote, the House recorded its decision to repeal the rule.

"When I served in Baghdad, my team did not care whether a fellow soldier was straight or gay," said Rep. Patrick Murphy, D-Penn. "[The concern was only] could they do their job so that everybody in our unit could come home safely?"

CBN News spoke with Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, about the possible repeal of 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell.'  Aside from working to promote family values, Perkins is also a U.S. Marine veteran.  Click play for his comments.

Also, watch Perkins' extended interview here.

But there is still strong opposition against the proposal and the decision by congressional leaders to put the vote on the fast track before the Pentagon's one-year review of the policy. That report on "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" is due in December.

The study will address the ramifications of repealing the policy and any potential effect on military readiness and cohesion it could have.

"They are shutting out the men and the women in the military by making this into law before the men and women of the military have made their input," Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., said.

Hours before the House vote, the Senate Armed Services Committee also pushed through a similar amendment calling for repeal. Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle are critical of the process.

"I think it would have been enormously valuable to have had that survey completed before the votes were taken," Sen. Jim Webb, D-Va., said.

Supporters say the current policy is discriminatory and has resulted in losing thousands of servicemen and women from either being discharged or those choosing not to re-enlist.

The repeal must clear several hurdles before it can become law. It is attached to a $760 billion defense spending bill.

Some Republicans are threatening to filibuster when the bill comes to a full vote on the Senate floor. Opponents accuse the Democratically controlled Congress and the Obama administration of forcing a liberal social agenda on the military.

But backers of the amendment say the repeal won't go into effect until after the Pentagon review. Obama, the Secretary of Defense and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff must also certify that the amendment will not hurt the military's ability to fight.

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