Iraq Vet to Spearhead Reversal of 'Don't Ask'

Rep. Murphy steps in as bill's sponsor
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 2, 2009 6:14 AM CDT
Rep. Patrick Murphy takes part in a House Armed Services subcommittee on Military Personnel hearing last year.   (AP Photo/Lawrence Jackson)
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(Newser) – The battle to ditch the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy on gays is being led by the first Iraq veteran to serve in Congress, the Los Angeles Times reports. Democratic Rep. Patrick Murphy has taken over as sponsor of a bill that would allow gays to openly serve in the military, and the party hopes the Bronze Star recipient will rally enough support to bring it to the House floor.

"It is vital to our national security," Murphy says of the bill."We have troops that are fighting in two wars, and we need every qualified, able-bodied individual." The former paratrooper captain says that while he anticipates a struggle ahead for the bill, "change is going to happen." Opponents who argue that the bill would damage national security are also gearing up for a fight, despite recent polls showing public support has swung strongly in favor of letting gays serve openly.