McCain Supports Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell

by Peter Cassels
Sunday Jun 25, 2006
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In a brief interview with EDGE, U.S. Sen. John McCain, a potential Republican presidential candidate in 2008, said he supports the current policy banning gays from serving openly in the military.

"All the senior members of the military say that it’s working," McCain told EDGE. "I hold the same position." He replied, "No," when asked if he would vote for Massachusetts Congressman Marty Meehan’s bill to repeal the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy.

McCain is a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, which would have to vote on sending the repeal bill to the floor for a vote. The House Armed Services Committee has not yet conducted a hearing on the bill despite the fact that more than 110 Democrats and Republicans have sponsored the legislation.

McCain appeared at a fund-raising picnic June 17 at U.S. Sen. Lincoln Chafee’s home in Exeter, R.I. Chafee, a moderate who often votes with Democrats, is in a closely contested Republican primary with Cranston mayor Stephen Laffy in September. Chafee has said he supports lifting the ban. Laffey has not publicly stated his position.

The Arizona senator told the crowd of more than 500 attending that he will not decided until 2007 whether he will run for president. He won the 2000 New Hampshire presidential primary, but after being soundly defeated by George Bush in South Carolina ended his campaign.

"All the senior members of the military say that it’s working. I hold the same position."

He told Chafee supporters that he slept like a baby after dropping out of the 2000 race. "I slept for two hours, woke up and cried, slept another two hours, woke up and cried...," he joked.

McCain said he was "not familiar with that" when asked about his views of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, the bill that’s been pending in Congress for about a decade that would ban private employers from not hiring and promoting gays and lesbians based on their sexual orientation.

The prominent Republican voted against the Federal Marriage Amendment June 6, although he has publicly stated he believes marriage should be between one man and one woman. McCain believes marriage is an issue that should be decided by individual states.

Peter Cassels is a recipient of the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association’s Excellence in Journalism award. His e-mail address is


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