(AFP) – Aug 14, 2011
WASHINGTON — US Representative Michele Bachmann, fresh from a victory in a key Republican test vote, said Sunday she would reinstate a ban on gay troops serving openly in the military.
President Barack Obama has certified that the US military is ready to accept gay soldiers, and the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy is due to be formally repealed on September 20 after 18 years in force.
But Bachmann, a favorite of the ultraconservative Tea Party movement, said she would revisit the policy if she reaches the White House.
"The 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' policy has worked very well," she told CNN's "State of the Union."
"I would be in consultation with our commanders, but yes, I probably will" reinstate the ban, she added.
The ban was overturned in a law adopted in December 2010 that first required the top military officer, the defense secretary and the president -- who is also commander-in-chief -- to certify the change would not harm military readiness and that the armed forces were ready to carry it out.
In the interim, the Pentagon has drawn up new manuals and prepared the entire armed forces, some 2.3 million people who serve as both active troops and reservists, for the new policy.
Bachmann has raised the ire of gay rights activists amid reports that her husband's Christian counseling center offered programs aimed at changing the sexual orientation of homosexuals.
Six US states now allow gay couples to legally marry, but Bachmann said judges must refrain from "legislating from the bench" on the matter.
"I think it's more important that people have a right to weigh in on the laws that they choose to live under," she said.
Gay marriage is not legal under federal law as the Defense of Marriage Act only recognizes marriage as the union between a man and a woman.
The White House says Obama favors legislation that would repeal the law, which also allows states to refuse to recognize a legally sanctioned gay marriage from another state.
Bachmann was speaking a day after winning the Ames Straw Poll in Iowa, an unscientific, nonbinding poll seen as an early indicator of which candidates are likely to do well in the first nomination battles early next year.
She was closely followed by small government champion Representative Ron Paul, while former Minnesota governor Tim Pawlenty came in a distant third, a poor showing that led him to drop out of the 2012 White House race on Sunday.
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