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Senate Republicans Block 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' Repeal

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David Wood
Chief Military Correspondent
Senate Republicans blocked repeal of "Don't ask, Don't tell" Thursday, significantly dimming prospects that the ban on gays serving openly in the military will be lifted during this lame-duck session of Congress.
The 57-40 vote came on a motion to bring the giant defense budget bill, which included repeal of "Don't ask, Don't tell" (DADT), to the floor, with Democratic Majority Leader Harry Reid unable to muster the 60 votes to launch debate.
Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates had pinned his hopes on the Senate for an orderly implementation of the change in military policy. The House voted this fall to repeal the 17-year-old law, and a positive Senate vote would have allowed the Pentagon to begin a lengthy process to actually lift the ban.
Unless the Senate acts this month, it is likely the courts will order an immediate repeal, an outcome Gates has said would lead to chaos and precisely the kind of disruption of morale and combat readiness many critics of repeal have feared.
Reid and Maine Republican Susan Collins had tried this week to reach a deal to allow debate on the defense budget legislation. Collins was one of three Republicans, including Scott Brown of Massachusetts and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, who had said they would vote for repeal of DADT. But Brown and Murkowski joined other Republicans in voting to bypass debate on the defense legislation until after the Senate considers extending the Bush-era tax cuts and other matters.
The vote coincided with the release of a new Gallup poll showing that two-thirds of Americans want the DADT law off the books.
The Defense Department had reached a similar finding with a yearlong study which surveyed 255,000 of the 2.5 million service members, as well as their families. It found the majority would not oppose serving with gays or lesbians and did not think it would disrupt combat readiness or unit cohesion.
In urging the Senate to take up repeal of DADT, Reid said the law banning gays from serving openly in the military was "obsolete, embarrassing and weakens our military ... repealing it will make our country stronger.''
The vote was taken without debate.
Advocates of repeal say there is less chance the new Congress, which takes office in January, will act favorably on repeal. The Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, which supports repeal, urged Reid to keep the Senate in session to try again for a vote.
"While difficult, realistic options still exist for advocates and senators to move repeal this year,'' said Aubrey Sarvis, an Army veteran and executive director of SLDN.
A U.S. District Court judge has already ruled the gay ban unconstitutional and ordered an immediate worldwide lifting of all Defense Department regulations providing for investigation and discharge of gay and lesbian service members. The 9th District Court of Appeals is currently weighing a Justice Department appeal to stay that order and overturn the lower court decision. A ruling from the appellate court is expected in March.
The Pentagon has prepared an 86-page plan to rewrite regulations and educate the troops before repeal of the law is implemented. Defense Department officials said the process would take months, in part because 97,000 military personnel currently serving in Afghanistan could not receive the training until they return home after their tours, which last from four to 12 months.
Language in the legislation that failed Thursday would prohibit any change until the president, defense secretary and chairman of the Joint Chiefs certify that implementation would not harm morale or readiness.
"I believe it would be unwise to push ahead with full implementation of repeal before more can be done to prepare the force -- in particular those ground combat specialties and units -- for what could be a disruptive and disorienting change,'' Gates told reporters Nov. 30.
Similar reservations were expressed by the military chiefs in a lengthy and contentious Senate hearing Dec. 3, during which they expressed much the same reservations as Gates. Of the four military service chiefs, the Marine commandant, Gen. James F. Amos, was most outspoken: " My recommendation is that we should not implement repeal at this time,'' he told the committee.
Some 14,000 gay and lesbian service members have been discharged in the 17 years since the gay ban was enacted during the Clinton administration.

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412 Comments

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Fletcher Agency

Times have changed and we need to change with them, enough of these old ideas and in with the new along with national health care and education reform. How about a mass transit rail system across the US... like other functioning, civilized countries?

December 29 2010 at 9:10 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
james

so in other words its to your liking or no print and your violating our freedom of speech.if its gay no print if its about a woman no print why dont you just print your own trash.and i know your not going to print this someone might sue you why dont you print your own garb at least we have something to say.

December 29 2010 at 5:18 AM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
james

I can't figure out why the suckers want to tell everyone anyway you dont see us straights going around yelling im coming out of my clouset to tell you im straight make sense? be true to yourself men would you really want to marry a harry man even animals know this is wrong.

December 29 2010 at 5:07 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
ziltenalp

THAT STUDY WAS A LIE!!!! 99% of the families I know in the military are against the repeal!! THey only said 50/50 to see like they were equal on both sides!! WHY are they caving to the demands of people like Lady GAGA?? Why dont they fight! It is wrong! The whole thing is wrong! I fear for our country and our childrens future. Hollywood and the "lower courts" have no business in this issue!! When they put on a pair of boots and deploy for 15 months in Iraq, THEN they can have a say, why do they allow these people that care nothing about our troops and our country to dictate something as serious as national security?? Obviously we know who owns who!!

December 24 2010 at 10:03 AM Report abuse +4 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to ziltenalp's comment
laureenmt

Many loyal soldiers have been drummed out of our military for no other reason than their personal lives. Does adultery get you kicked out? Frequenting prostitutes? Sado-masochism? Any of these "sins" can become known without ending a military career. Why should choosing a monogamous partner of the same gender be unacceptable, when these other situations are not? "Don't ask, Don't tell" must end.

December 31 2010 at 12:06 AM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
gardinsprite13

we must keep Christians and other extremist's out of our Government. it should be against the law for Christians to use their religion in Government. it needs to be silenced from radios and TV and kept withing the walls of its own church.
We must protect our children for these pedophiles and such. as well as the churches that lure young into their churches with Summer camps,food and more just to teach this HATE to the next generation of youth.
Most of all TAX every Church in the US 10% to our Government!

December 24 2010 at 12:19 AM Report abuse -6 rate up rate down Reply
girl4diam

How many gays and lesbians have you seen holding SUPPORT THE TROOPS sign?-0
Now how many at Anti-War Protests-1,000 and counting.

December 18 2010 at 3:23 AM Report abuse +4 rate up rate down Reply
Drego

Forget using DADT hostage in exchange for tax cuts for the republicans rich supporters. Let the courts take it and make it take effect immediately.

December 16 2010 at 11:45 PM Report abuse -2 rate up rate down Reply
Drego

Thirty five countries around the world including Australia, Britain, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, The Netherlands, Russia, Spain, Switzerland, The United Kingdom and Israel’s battled tested forces presently allow gay members to serve openly. Iraq, Iran, North Korea, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and the United States do not allow such. Of the 26 countries that participate militarily in NATO Turkey and the United States are the only two of the original members that have bans still in place. Of all nations, America screams the loudest about human rights abuse yet , when it comes to openly gay service members, we are the one that demands these individuals deny their very existence. Personally I believe this speaks for itself! Not a single one of the countries that allow gays to serve openly have experienced an increase in unacceptable sexual behavior. Here in the United States, more than 14,000 service members have been discharged under Don‘t Ask - Don‘t Tell, including many hundreds if not thousands with critical skills in foreign languages, military intelligence, counter terrorism, weapons development and military medicine. Meanwhile, the military is having such trouble finding qualified recruits that it is now issuing “moral waivers” to convicted felons and has lowered its educational and physical fitness requirements. The original rationale for “don't ask, don't tell” was that it would enhance unit morale and cohesion, and thus military preparedness, by shielding heterosexual soldiers from any knowledge that some of their colleagues were gay. That rationale has not held up in the real world. All branches of the military have routinely delayed investigations and discharges until suspected gays complete their deployments on combat missions. Their service has been deemed vital in the war zones, not detrimental. The federal court has ruled, based on persuasive evidence, that “don't ask, don't tell” is unconstitutional because it infringes the due process and free speech rights of gay service members, who are forced to lie about central elements of their lives. The courts have also made a powerful case that the law is harmful to military readiness, the opposite of what its authors said they intended. Our military leaders train our troops to be professional and at the same time teaches that lying is not only acceptable, it is mandatory. Many of the nations that have lifted their bans heard the same arguments that doing so would undermine unit cohesion, hurt retention and recruitments, None of the problems that were hypothesized materialized. Our own military has resisted racial integration, it resisted gender integration. In both cases, our military leaders kicked and screamed saying it would undermine effectiveness. Once the decision was made, soldiers saluted and followed in line. The Uniform Code Of Military Justice (UCMJ) applicable to all branches of US Military Service presently covers unacceptable behavior including sexual conduct, it should be equally and fairly enforced for all members regardless of their gender or sexual orientation. It is unfair to persecute valued service members under an outmoded and harmful law that should have been scrapped long ago. As a honorably discharged veteran of military service. I can assure everyone there are thousands of gay soldiers currently serving with pride and dedication, and have been since the inception of military service dating back to the third century. Many have died defending our way of life. It is unfair to persecute valued service members under an outmoded and harmful law that should have been scrapped long ago. The time has come to throw Don't Ask, Don't Tell onto the scrap pile of American history.

December 16 2010 at 11:41 PM Report abuse -3 rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to Drego's comment
vicbar88

Go a head and let them in but- but give me the option to get out - it is not what I signed up for nor will I support it. It is like changing a job description/duties after the agreement has been made and the salary negotiated. It is their right to serve openly I agree but it is also my right to choose not to serve with them so let me out.

December 20 2010 at 9:12 AM Report abuse -6 rate up rate down Reply
debbie

Amen, brother! Finally, an intelligent comment on here!!!

December 28 2010 at 7:51 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
galaxy4262a

if all the gay people in the wars was to get throwed out they wouldnt have enough people to fight the war if you dont think that theirs lots of gay or by in service then think again lots of your friens people you grew up with are gay or by , im not gay but i know a few and beleave me if i was ther fighting i can only hope that gay person standing next to me saveing my but from getting killed , well i can never thank him enough i only hope they all come home gay or not they are fighting , may god be with them all

December 16 2010 at 10:33 AM Report abuse -7 rate up rate down Reply
MASTER SGT

GAYS AND LESBIANS OFTEN SHOW Agression in public latrines, bathrooms,etc. Many know this. I personally saw the "TOE TAPPING" TECHNIQUE to sound out other gays in public bathrooms for extra curricular activities before returning to work with an extended lunch in the stall. The perversion and sickness abounds when you say nothing or do nothing about it. This mentality is swirling in the halls of Congress as we make comment. The pages are running for their lives and Congressmen and Senators are making their passes in public bathrooms in airports, military bases, hotels, restaurants, hospitals, etc where ever they can push their perversion on society. Soon it will be in public schools as children are made to believe GAY AND LESBIAN tendencies are NORMAL AND SHOULD BE OPENLY SHOWN. THIS IS ALL WRONG.

December 16 2010 at 7:26 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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