GOP lawmakers ask for delay to 'Don't ask, don't tell' repeal

Two key GOP lawmakers in the House want the Pentagon to delay repealing the "Don't ask, don't tell" law. 

The request to Defense Secretary Leon Panetta to delay Tuesday's repeal of the military's ban on gays and lesbians serving openly in the military comes from House Armed Services Committee Chairman Buck McKeon (R-Calif.) and Rep. Joe Wilson (R-S.C.), who chairs the Military Personnel subcommittee. 

McKeon and Wilson argue that since their committee has not received copies of all regulation and policy changes that would occur because of the repeal, they believe the Defense Department to be rushing a process that is not ready for implementation. Their request is largely seen as a last-ditch effort to delay the repeal, which has been strongly opposed by many conservatives.

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"The department is not ready to implement the repeal because all the policies and regulations necessary for the transition are not yet final," the congressmen write.

Democrats denounced the move Thursday, arguing that the issue was settled.

"The Pentagon has been given the time and flexibility our leaders said they needed to implement repeal," said Sen. Mark Udall (D- Col.). "It’s been studied, and the conclusion is clear – it’s past time for repeal."

McKeon and Wilson say they are particularly interested in if and how benefits will be extended to the partners of gay servicemen. President Obama announced in 2009 that the government would begin extending healthcare and other benefits to the same-sex partners of federal employees.

"We find it unconscionable that the polices and regulations that provide guidelines and procedures to be used by service members and their leaders to implement repeal, and well as to protect the interests of all service members, including gay and lesbian members, remain unpublished," the letter said.

The congressmen also reiterated a request for the views of service chiefs and senior military leaders on the DADT policy to be provided in an official memorandum. The Pentagon has previously denied this request.

Nor does it seem likely to pause the repeal based on the congressmen's letter.

"The repeal of 'Don't ask, don't tell' will occur, in accordance with the law and after a rigorous certification process, on Sept. 20," a Pentagon spokesman told Fox News. "Senior Department of Defense officials have advised Congress of changes to regulations and policies associated with repeal. We take that obligation seriously."