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Ben Nelson backs DADT compromise

From NBC's Jenna Pfeffer
Nebraska Sen. Ben Nelson (D) announced today that he will support the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" repeal because he doesn't believe "that most Nebraskans want to continue a policy that not only encourages but requires people to be deceptive and to lie," he said in a statement. "In a military which values honesty and integrity, this policy encourages deceit."

Nelson becomes the crucial 15th vote in the Senate Armed Services Committee that critics of the military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy need to include the amendment in the annual defense spending bill. Sen. Joseph Lieberman (I-D), along with Sen. Carl Levin (D) and Rep. Patrick Murphy (D), are the main proponents behind this compromise.

This comes after the White House backed the compromise on Monday. Nelson, along with several other senators, was waiting to hear from the White House before making a decision. He ultimately chose to support the repeal because "it removes politics from the process. It bases implementation of the repeal on the Pentagon's review."

In response, the president of the Human Rights Campaign, the nation's largest gay-rights group, thanked Nelson for "being on the right side of history."

The Senate Armed Services Committee will vote on the repeal this Thursday.

*** UPDATE *** The conservative group Concerned Women for America emails this statement: "Just like he did on the crucial healthcare vote, Sen. Ben Nelson has once again betrayed the trust of his constituents and crumpled under the pressure of Washington politics. Sen. Nelson is so ingrained in the Washington culture that obviously he doesn't need to think twice about flipping positions on serious issues of moral consequence. Nelson and his colleagues who vote to repeal the policy will be ignoring the advice and counsel of leaders in our military who are unsure yet of the repercussions. Our nation, and our military, need to focus on winning wars and protecting the country, not on internal politics that could cause significant division."