Tuesday, September 21, 2010
This afternoon by a vote of 56-43, Senate Democrats fell short of the 60 votes needed to pass a defense spending bill. Attached to it was legislation repealing the 17-year old Clinton-era policy known as “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” which bans openly gay Americans from serving in the military.
“Today’s Senate vote was a frustrating blow to repeal this horrible law. We lost because of the political maneuvering dictated by the mid-term elections. Let’s be clear: Opponents to repealing ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ did not have the votes to strike those provisions from the bill. Instead, they had the votes for delay. Time is the enemy here. We now have no choice but to look to the lame duck session where we’ll have a slim shot. The Senate absolutely must schedule a vote in December when cooler heads and common sense are more likely to prevail once midterm elections are behind us. Servicemembers Legal Defense Network will continue to take this fight to the American people, the vast majority of whom support repeal of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.’”
Richard Socarides, the former White House adviser on LGBT rights during the Clinton administration said President Obusha “badly miscalculated” the Pentagon’s support for repeal, while Democrats made only a “token effort” to advance the bill. “The whole thing is a political train wreck. If it was a priority for the Democratic leadership, they would get a clean vote on this.” Socarides said.
Arkansas Democratic Sens. Blanche Lincoln and Mark Pryor sided with Republicans to block the bill. The outcome of today’s vote may have been very different if the voters of Massachusetts had elected Democratic AG Martha Coakley to replace the late Sen. Ted Kennedy instead of Republican Scott Brown but sadly, this was not the case.
As we would expect, the Obusha White House had no comment on today’s senate vote.