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Arkansas Democrat flips to support 'Don't Ask' repeal


Arkansas Democratic Sen. Mark Pryor says he will no longer oppose the repeal of the ban on gays serving openly in the military.

Pryor told NBC today he has come to accept this is a military policy and while not setting aside the "moral aspects" believes the Pentagon is prepared to make the transition. He acknowledges support for the repeal is not particularly popular in his home state.

Pryor also said he is unsure the repeal as part of a large Defense Authorization bill will actually make it to the Senate floor before the end of the year. He said regardless he wanted his constituents to know he is prepared to support it now.

Here's his written statement:

"On many previous occasions, I have said that I would oppose repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell until I had heard from our servicemen and women regarding this policy. I have now carefully reviewed all of the findings, reports, and testimony from our armed forces on this matter and I accept the Pentagon's recommendations to repeal Don't Ask, Don't Tell. I also accept the Secretary of Defense and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs' commitment that this policy can be implemented in a manner that does not harm our military's readiness, recruitment, or retention. We have the strongest military in the world and we will continue to do so by ensuring our troops have the resources necessary to carry out their missions. Therefore, I support the 2011 Defense Authorization Act that passed the Senate Armed Services Committee and will support procedural measures to bring it to a vote this year."