Frank: Don’t appeal DADT ruling until lame-duck Congress

A prominent gay lawmaker urged the Obama administration to refrain from appealing a judge’s order to halt discharges under the military’s “Don’t ask, don’t tell” policy.

Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.), the most senior of three openly gay members of Congress, said the administration should wait as long as possible before deciding whether to appeal a federal judge’s ruling against the military’s prohibition on openly gay and lesbian servicemembers.

Frank urged President Obama to give lawmakers a chance to repeal the policy when they return to Washington during a lame-duck session of Congress after the elections.

“They’ve got 60 days. We will have the lame-duck session convene in less time than that,” Frank said Tuesday evening on MSNBC. “Clearly what they should do is wait and see. I hope they don’t appeal it at all, but it would be really foolish to appeal it before we can repeal it.”

The judge’s ruling ordered the military to immediately cease discharges of individuals under the controversial policy. The administration has 60 days to decide whether to appeal. The government traditionally sues to defend its policies when challenged, though the Department of Justice could opt not to pursue an appeal.

Frank argued that the administration should wait until lawmakers have a chance to act when they return on Nov. 15 — well before the 60-day time frame is set to expire.

The House has previously voted to repeal the “Don’t ask, don’t tell” policy, but a similar effort stalled in a procedural vote in the Senate. In that vote, all 40 Republicans who participated opposed the repeal, joined by two Democrats: Arkansas Sens. Blanche Lincoln and Mark Pryor.

Frank appealed to the Log Cabin Republicans, the group of gay and lesbian members of the GOP who brought the suit against the military policy, to lean on several Republican senators to deliver the support for repeal in the Senate.

“I want to push ahead, and I hope that we will have a vote on it in the lame-duck session of the Senate,” he said. “I believe we will, and if the Log Cabin Republicans can produce two or three Republicans, this thing will go away.”

In the meanwhile, the Obama White House should do nothing, Frank asserted.

“What I would urge the administration to do is nothing until Congress has reconvened and the Senate has a chance to vote on it,” he said.

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