UPDATE 12:30p: STATEMENT FROM REPUBLICAN SEN. SUSAN COLLINS:
“Like our closest allies, the United States’ Armed Forces should welcome the service of any qualified individual who is willing and capable of serving our country.
“After hearing powerful testimony from Secretary of Defense Gates and Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mullen, and reviewing the results of the Pentagon report, I remain convinced that the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy,” implemented under President Clinton, should be repealed. And, I agree with Secretary Gates that the issue should be decided by Congress, not the courts.
“As a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, I voted, last May, to include in the Defense Authorization bill language repealing Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, subject to certification by the Secretary of Defense and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff that there would not be a negative impact on combat effectiveness and military readiness. It is especially reassuring to learn from the Pentagon report that, after extensive interviews and feedback from service members, nearly 70 percent say that having a gay service member in their unit would have a “positive, mixed, or no effect” on the unit’s effectiveness.
“Once the tax issue is resolved, I have made it clear that if the Majority Leader brings the Defense Authorization bill to the floor with sufficient time allowed for debate and amendments, I would vote to proceed to the bill.”
UPDATE FROM HUFFINGTON POST: REPUBLICAN SEN. SCOTT BROWN:
I have been in the military for 31 years and counting, and have served as a subordinate and as an officer. As a legislator, I have spent a significant amount of time on military issues. During my time of service, I have visited our injured troops at Walter Reed and have attended funerals of our fallen heroes. When a soldier answers the call to serve, and risks life or limb, it has never mattered to me whether they are gay or straight. My only concern has been whether their service and sacrifice is with pride and honor.
I pledged to keep an open mind about the present policy on Don’t Ask Don’t Tell. Having reviewed the Pentagon report, having spoken to active and retired military service members, and having discussed the matter privately with Defense Secretary Gates and others, I accept the findings of the report and support repeal based on the Secretary’s recommendations that repeal will be implemented only when the battle effectiveness of the forces is assured and proper preparations have been completed.
Sen. Mark Udall (D-Colo.) asked each service chief to go down the line and answer whether, if DADT is repealed, their branch can implement it and make it work. Every single chief answered in the affirmative.