CNN Wire Staff
(CNN) - Now is not the time to repeal the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy on gay men and lesbians serving openly in the U.S. armed forces, Sen. John McCain said at a hearing Thursday.
"At this time, we should be inherently cautious about making any changes that would affect our military, and what changes we do make should be the product of careful and deliberate consideration," the Arizona Republican said at the Senate Armed Services Committee hearing.
His position is not that the law should never be changed, he said, but that "it may be premature to make such a change at this time and in this manner."
In contrast, Defense Secretary Robert Gates urged that the repeal be signed into law as soon as possible, to avoid the issue being taken up again by the judiciary, where a repeal of the ban could be ordered immediately, rather than on the military's timetable. A judicial fiat would be "hazardous," he added.
"This can be done, and should be done," Gates said of the policy change.
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