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Tuesday, June 1, 2010 - 2:52pm

Barrow Votes To Repeal Ban

Savannah Democrat John Barrow was among four Georgia members of the U.S. House who voted to repeal the military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" ban against gay service-members last week.

The measure passed by the House would end the ban against openly gay people serving contingent upon the military's review of how the change would effect fighting ability.

That review isn't expected until December.

Many Republicans and Defense Secretary Robert Gates preferred the Congress wait.

Barrow says, voting before the review ensures there's no delay between study and implimentation.

"Congress stepped in to set this policy some 17 years or so ago," Barrow says. "And Congress will have to step in to authorize this change when and if the civilian and military leadership of the Defense Department decides it's time to do that."

Barrow, a conservative Democrat, is usually on the opposing side of gay rights leaders' agendas and his vote seems unlikely to change many gays' opinions of the Democrat, says one gay activist.

"I'm glad he rose to the occassion and did the right thing for once," says Kevin Clark of Georgia Equality, a gay rights organization. "But there needs to be a lot more proof in the pudding before I change my dubious opinion on his ability to do the right thing."

Last month, about 400 gay rights supporters rallied at Savannah city hall to demand same-sex marriage, which Barrow opposes.

Barrow was the only Representative outside of Metro Atlanta to vote for the repeal. The three others were Democrats John Lewis, David Scott and Hank Johnson.