Obama Wouldn't Give Chiefs Gay 'Litmus Test'

Says 'don't ask' hurts US military, but won't demand brass agree
By Jonas Oransky,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 10, 2008 2:51 PM CDT
Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton caricatures.   (AP Photo/Rob Griffith)
camera-icon View 2 more images

(Newser) – Barack Obama said he wouldn't require top military appointees to support letting open homosexuals serve, stressing that his priority for Joint Chiefs of Staff is the ability to protect the country. Speaking to a gay magazine, the candidate called “don’t ask, don’t tell” a “counterproductive strategy,” adding he’d ban workplace discrimination against gays and get federal benefits for couples in civil unions.

On “don’t ask,” he said: “We're spending large sums of money to kick highly qualified gays or lesbians out of our military," the AP reports, "some of whom possess specialties like Arab-language capabilities that we desperately need. That doesn't make us more safe.”