Tuesday, July 14, 2009
This is an interesting development. Sen. Majority Leader Harry Reid said today that he would support a measure being considered by some senators that would put an 18-month moratorium on investigations and discharges of gay soldiers in the military but Reid said he would take the potential amendment to the Department of Defense reauthorization bill one step further.
“I would make it permanent. We’re having trouble getting people into the military and I don’t think that we should turn down anybody that’s willing to fight for our country, certainly [not] based on sexual orientation.”
Reid’s comments dovetail with an amendment Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand is rumored to be considering that would suspend investigations of soldiers suspected to be gay, stopping discharges of soldiers under the viciously homophobic, Clinton-era “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy until the end of the 111th Congress.
However one caveat for Gillibrand’s bill is finding 60 votes over a two-week period in which the Senate is consumed with climate change legislation, health reform, and the confirmation hearings of U.S. Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor.
Aubrey Sarvis, executive director of Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (SLDN), an organization that lobbies for repeal of DADT, think’s Gillibrand’s strategy is a “long shot.” He says several other senators are also mulling the concept. “What’s important here is that we have a small core group that’s considering doing this,” he said, declining to name specific senators.