Rep. Barney Frank on Monday appeared to dispute a quote he gave saying that he believes the White House does not want a policy banning openly gay people in the military repealed this year.
The Advocate, a gay and lesbian publication, quoted the openly gay Massachusetts Democrat as saying:
Like many pro-repeal advocates,
Frank has consistently pinpointed the National Defense Authorization Act
as “the only vehicle” for overturning the ban legislatively. When I
noted that the White House has failed to designate the defense
authorization bill over a stand-alone bill as its preferred method for
repealing the policy, Frank responded, “That’s because they don’t want
it done this year, not because they want it done separately.”
But Frank told The Hill that he was talking about the Pentagon's stance, not the White House's position on the "Don't ask, don't tell" policy.
"I said that about the Pentagon, the quote may have gotten garbled," he said in a phone interview.
But Frank also told the Advocate that “I’m disappointed with the administration talking about delaying legislation for a year. But I’m working with Patrick Murphy [the lead sponsor of the House repeal bill] on it and I’m hoping we can push ahead."
Frank is working on legislation to get rid of the policy. Some lawmakers have also suggested that a repeal be attached to next year's defense authorization bill.
President Barack Obama called for a repeal of the policy in his State of the Union address this year. Vice President Joe Biden later pledged that the law would be eliminated this year.
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen endorsed that position as did Defense Secretary Robert Gates.
But Gates has asked for a year-long review to study the policy before enacting a repeal, which would delay the process.
Frank said that the White House has been "ambiguous" about its desire to see the policy repealed this year but did not say they are openly against it like he believes the Pentagon is.
"I wish the White House was more adamant," he said. "I'm still waiting for the White House to speak out.
"When people say that they want to implement a change, their answer should be that they want to pass the bill."