This editorial will appear in Wednesday’s print edition.
The most fervent proponents of lifting the ban on gays serving openly in the military worry a new compromise in Congress amounts to a whole lot of hurry up and wait.
But that is precisely the deal’s appeal.
The proposal strikes a delicate balance between setting a clear direction for military policy while honoring the Pentagon’s need for deliberate implementation. Legislation that gives the military breathing room is more likely to succeed than a summary congressional edict.
The White House and a small group of lawmakers struck the deal Monday. Their suggested compromise would repeal the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy – but the repeal would take effect only once the president and military leaders certified that it would not harm troop readiness, recruiting or retention.
On Tuesday, Defense Secretary Robert Gates gave the legislation his endorsement, however grudgingly.