The top uniformed officers of the Army and the Marines say letting gays serve openly in the military at a time of war would be divisive and difficult, sharply challenging a new Pentagon study that calculates the risk as low.
Their assessment, expected Friday at a Senate hearing, was likely to become political ammunition for Arizona Sen. John McCain and other Republicans fighting to keep Congress from repealing the 1993 law that prohibits gays from acknowledging their sexual orientation. Democrats have promised a vote this month to repeal the "don't ask, don't tell" law, although its chances of passing this year were considered dim, FoxNews informs.
Court rulings this fall - which temporarily suspended the law and led to bureaucratic chaos at the Pentagon and recruiting stations - alarmed defense and military officials, who said they were caught by surprise.
"I think that woke a lot of people up," Gen. James E. Cartwright, the vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs, said in an interview Wednesday. Cartwright, the chiefs of staff of the Army, Navy and Air Force, and the commandants of the Marine Corps and Coast Guard will testify before the Armed Services Committee on Friday, The Washington Post reports.