Repeal of ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ falters in U.S. Senate

The window on an important promise by President Barack Obama may have just closed. From the Associated Press:

Senate Republicans on Tuesday blocked legislation that would have repealed the law banning gays from serving openly in the military.

The partisan vote was a defeat for Senate Democrats and gay rights advocates, who saw the bill as their last chance before November’s elections to overturn the law known as “don’t ask, don’t tell.”

With the 56-43 vote, Democrats fell short of the 60 votes needed to advance the legislation. It also would have authorized $726 billion in defense spending including a pay raise for troops.

Senate Democrats attached the repeal provision to the defense bill in the hopes that Republicans would hesitate to vote against legislation that included popular defense programs. But GOP legislators opposed the bill anyway, thwarting a key part of the Democrats’ legislative agenda.

Now, gay rights advocates say they worry they have lost a crucial opportunity to change the law. If Democrats lose seats in the upcoming elections this fall, repealing the ban could prove even more difficult — if not impossible — next year.

“The whole thing is a political train wreck,” said Richard Socarides, a former White House adviser on gay rights during the Clinton administration.

Socarides said President Barack Obama “badly miscalculated” the Pentagon’s support for repeal, while Democrats made only a “token effort” to advance the bill.

“If it was a priority for the Democratic leadership, they would get a clean vote on this,” he said.

NPR adds this:

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) has said that if the defense bill doesn’t move today, he will bring it up in a lame-duck session, following the November elections.

“It’s a matter of timing,” says Rep. Jared Polis (D-CO), who is openly gay. “This policy should have ended years ago.”

But many repeal supporters are nervous that further delay could weaken their chances. If legislation doesn’t move through the Senate this week, success will be difficult for them to achieve in a post-election lame duck session.

“Anyone who tries to predict what will happen in (a) lame duck (session) has got a lot more courage than I do,” Carl Levin (D-MI), who chairs the Senate Armed Services Committee, said Monday.

For instant updates, follow me on Twitter, or connect with me on Facebook.

23 comments Add your comment

Randy

September 21st, 2010
3:26 pm

That why I get a chance we are going to vote the Republicans out the office. Georgian we going to remember this in November because if a gay person is in the military fighting for our country they should not have to hide of who they are in the military.. Deal and Isakinson we are going to remember this in November.

Manny

September 21st, 2010
3:30 pm

Be gay all u want. Just keep it to yourself.
U heterophobic people are funny

Randy

September 21st, 2010
3:42 pm

Manny nobody is hetrophobic it not about being straight or gay. If you ahve a son or daughter in the military who is gay they should not have be thrown out of the military because they are gay. I thought this country was built on Freedom of Speech. The republican are trying to use this against the demoncrate party and president Obama we are going to vote the republican party out of the office. I am tired of hearing NO for everything the American people want. The Tea Party is non backward folks in America. We will see in November who going to get voted out of the office.

FISH

September 21st, 2010
3:52 pm

READ YOUR BIBLE, THE CORRECT ANSWERE IS IN THERE.

Jon

September 21st, 2010
4:09 pm

I favor the repeal of the policy. I don’t like the backdoor methods used by the Democrats to get it done. This was their last chance, though. No chance of the GOP ever getting on board with it.

Confuse

September 21st, 2010
4:21 pm

@FISH – don’t forget to read the Koran, too; because it will give you the same “correct” answer!

Yankee in Gooberville

September 21st, 2010
4:31 pm

And here are the unpatriotic Republicans blocking the passage of an important funding of our military while we are at WAR! How dare they…including you ‘Johnny’ …hold up these important funds for our men and women in uniform putting their lives at risk for petty GOP politics before an election!

Treasonous!

Retired Soldier

September 21st, 2010
4:40 pm

Yankee-

Have you given any thought to way Reid didn’t send a don’t ask don’t tell bill to the floor by itself? Maybe Reid attached it to the defense bill because he wanted it to fail. Just wondering…

ByteMe

September 21st, 2010
4:50 pm

Retired Soldier: betcha didn’t know that’s how DADT got passed in the first place… added to a defense appropriations bill.

Truth Hurts

September 21st, 2010
4:51 pm

Randy:: What the HELL are you trying to say? I think I understand you, but I wouldn’t swear to it. And what exactly does “freedom of speech” have to do with this? I am pretty sure that not many people would want to shower with you.

Truth Hurts

September 21st, 2010
4:56 pm

Yankee in Gooberville:

“And here are the unpatriotic Republicans blocking the passage of an important funding of our military”

I, for one, am tired of these hacks attaching riders to bills they are pretty sure will pass. It is a method of getting bad legislation through the system. The one bill that should be adopted by both houses, signed by the president and put into affect immediately is one that requires “clean: bills only.

Retired Soldier

September 21st, 2010
5:00 pm

What’s your point Byte? Two wrongs make it right? You don’t point to bad behavior to justify other bad behavior.

Truth Hurts

September 21st, 2010
5:18 pm

Yankee in Gooberville:

“Treasonous!”

Suggest you check the LEGAL definition of the word before using it.

Officer

September 21st, 2010
5:20 pm

We have professionals serving in all branches of the military who are trained to go to war. In the life and death situations that our proud men and women face every day, sexual orientation is not even on the radar screen. It is not an issue with us, it’s becoming less and less of an issue for civilians and frankly, I think many American politicians are behind the curve and simply pandering to the worst in us.

We want and need the best and the brightest. In my humble opinion, we are weaker today because of this ban. If the best man or woman for the job happens to be gay, and that is the only reason we deny them the job, then we are harming more than just the individual, we are harming the overall strength of the armed forces. If you want a weaker American military, then supporting this ban is your right I suppose.

[...] My. God. is a blog devoted to gay and lesbian issues. Today, the unavoidable issue is the failure of a Democratic attempt to repeal “don’t ask, don’t tell” in the U.S. [...]

Amen

September 21st, 2010
5:25 pm

Thank you officer for your service. It reminds me of Sen. Barry Goldwater’s quote about straight vs. gay. The most important thing is that you know how shoot straight!

This policy will eventually change. In the meantime, our military won’t have 100% of the best and brightest. That is a shame.

Hey Fish

September 21st, 2010
5:29 pm

Hey Fish, I just checked in the bible. It seems that Jesus never said a word about gay people… And before you come back at me with your Old Testament quotes, you better not be eating shell fish. Oh, and you better be stoning your divorced neighbor, b/c you’d be breaking those old laws if you didn’t!

Furthermore, I’ve looked and looked and cannot find anything about lesbians. I guess you’d like our military to get rid of them too… You are an idiot. Lesbians are some of the best soldiers we have!

Ooh La Lah

September 21st, 2010
10:50 pm

Speaking of Christian soldiers, looks like the Sword of the Lord Bishop Eddie Long has strayed over to the ’snake-handling’ congregation.

John K

September 22nd, 2010
8:31 am

Republicans: Leading the USA straight to 1952. Where people knew their place.

George Estelle

September 22nd, 2010
9:43 am

Any American who wants to serve in the military should be praised for his desire to be willing to die for our freedom. Any person who tells me to read the bible should know that the bible says, Gods loves all of his children and all of his children will be judged and answer for any sins at their day of recokoning and there is not one person alive who has not committed a sin.

John W

September 23rd, 2010
12:46 am

“Hey Fish” and “Officer”.. well said! First off, the Bible has nothing to do with this issue. Second, who cares about gay people in the military. The percent of Americans in the military is so low, they should be happy to take anyone that is willing to fight for this country. Gay people just want to be treated equally to everyone else. To me, telling someone they can’t be in the military because they are gay is like having a sign on the front door of a restaurant that reads, “No Blacks Allowed”. It’s highly offensive and implies that one set of people are better than another. The Declaration of Independence states, “All men are created EQUAL”.

The Centrist

September 23rd, 2010
12:33 pm

The problem with DADT is that it did not include “Don’t Snitch.” Still, where is the outrage about the female sexual abuse in the military by hetrosexual males?

The Centrist

September 23rd, 2010
12:38 pm

A Really Sick View. You would think conservatives would want GLBT’s on multiple tours fighting on the front lines rather in their pristine communities.