Archive for Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Don’t ask, don’t tell” repeal blocked by Republicans

September 22, 2010

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— Senate Republicans on Tuesday blocked an effort by Democrats and the White House to lift the ban on gays from serving openly in the military, voting unanimously against advancing a major defense policy bill that included the provision.

Former U.S. Marine Morningstar Vancil, right, is hugged by Robert C. Potter after speaking with a reporter Tuesday at the Alexander Hamilton American Legion Post 448 office in San Francisco. According to its website, the Alexander Hamilton Post 448 is the only post whose membership is predominantly gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered.

Former U.S. Marine Morningstar Vancil, right, is hugged by Robert C. Potter after speaking with a reporter Tuesday at the Alexander Hamilton American Legion Post 448 office in San Francisco. According to its website, the Alexander Hamilton Post 448 is the only post whose membership is predominantly gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered.

The mostly partisan vote dealt a major blow to gay rights groups who saw the legislation as their best hope, at least in the short term, for repeal of the 17-year-old law known as “don’t ask, don’t tell.”

If Democrats lose seats in the upcoming congressional elections this fall, as many expect, repealing the ban could prove even more difficult — if not impossible — next year. With that scenario looming, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said that a lame-duck session was being planned and that lifting the ban would be taken up then.

The episode upset advocates who believe that neither President Barack Obama nor Reid did enough to see the measure through.

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

Democrats included the repeal provision in a $726 billion defense policy bill, which authorizes a pay raise for the troops among other popular programs. In a deal brokered with the White House, the measure would have overturned the 1993 law banning openly gay service only after a Pentagon review and certification from the president that lifting the ban wouldn’t hurt troop morale.

But with little time left for debate before the November ballot, the bill languished on the Senate calendar until gay rights groups, backed by pop star Lady Gaga, began an aggressive push to turn it into an election issue.

Earlier this month a federal judge in Los Angeles declared the ban an unconstitutional violation of the due process and free speech rights of gays and lesbians. The decision was the third federal court ruling since July to assert that statutory limits on the rights of gays and lesbians were unconstitutional.

Reid agreed to force a vote on the bill this week and limit debate, despite Republican objections. A Nevada Democrat in a tight race of his own this fall, he also pledged to use the defense bill as a vehicle for an immigration proposal that would enable young people to qualify for U.S. citizenship if they joined the military.

Republicans alleged that Reid was using the defense bill to score political points with the Democratic base.

“This is not a serious exercise. It’s a show,” said Senate GOP leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky.

Democrats countered that the bill merely reflects public opinion. Recent polls suggest that a majority of Americans think the ban on gays in the military should be overturned.

“We’re going to fight for this,” said Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., chairman of the Armed Services Committee.

Comments

newmedia 4 years, 9 months ago

I believe if you did your homework you would see a couple of democrats also voted no which would mean in demo speak a bipartisan vote!

grammaddy 4 years, 9 months ago

Yes, a few did.Some Regurgicans that had pledged a yes vote, voted no,too.Your point?

MyName 4 years, 9 months ago

Yeah, they've been in charge of everything that the Republicans didn't feel like vetoing or doing a filibuster for. There was a period of 6 months in 2009 and that's about it.

But if makes you feel better to have a scapegoat, instead of actually doing things to help solve some of the problems America is facing right now, then go ahead and keep deluding yourself.

oldvet 4 years, 9 months ago

No, bartstop, the Republicans do not hate everybody... they only hate YOU!

paraphrased from Episode 1, Band of Brothers...

Kontum1972 4 years, 9 months ago

gay military people bleed and die the same way we all do.... those of u that have never served in our armed forces to protect our country do not have a right to be against this...these service people are protecting our nation because u non-service lackies dont have the courage to put on a uniform and go into harms way, you just sit in front of your flat screens and become arm-chair critics...u do not know who these people are so why should you care.....its not your business...they belong to the Defense department not YOU!

grammaddy 4 years, 9 months ago

Agreed! They're fighting and dying to preserve our freedoms. Shouldn't we allow them to have the freedom to be who they are?My father, Uncle and Grandfather all served in Korea and my brother died in Vietnam. All of them would have supported the repeal of DADT, I'm sure.

Scott Drummond 4 years, 9 months ago

Why do the republicans hate the (gay) troops?

madameX 4 years, 9 months ago

Somehow I think a vote that happened yesterday is more relevant than what Bill Clinton said 18+ years ago. And what happened yesterday is that 54 (the article doesn't say, but I think I read that somewhere else) senators, the vast majority of whom were republicans, voted to filibuster a bill with a provision that I would have like to see pass.

Also, apart from early in Bill Clinton's first term, when have the democrats been "full control?" I was under the impression that there's either been a republican majority in congress or a republican president and not enough votes to override a veto. And that this is the first time in while that the democrats have been close to having a filibuster-proof majority (which clearly is not a sure thing.)

MyName 4 years, 9 months ago

They don't have a "filibuster proof" majority now, as they only have 57+ 2 independents and you need 60 total. And they haven't since January. There was a period of about 6 months in 2009 when they had exactly 60 Senators, but that was about it.

boltzmann 4 years, 9 months ago

Your numbers are not correct. The vote was 56 to 43 in favor of bringing the bill to the floor. To break the filibuster 60 votes are needed, so the measure failed. All 56 voting yes were Democrats and all but two of the 43 were Republicans.

Kontum1972 4 years, 9 months ago

grammaddy..i am sorry for the loss of your brother..and he was my brother too...i lost many many brothers there too i had just turned 20 when i shipped out for southeast asia.

grammaddy 4 years, 9 months ago

Thank you, my brother. He was 18 and fresh out of high school when he shipped out. He was also gay and trying to prove himself to the other men in the family who had served. If he had been open with his recruiter about his sexual preference, he'd still be with us.This is why this is such a big issue to me.

grammaddy 4 years, 9 months ago

He did 2 tours in Nam and re-enlisted. He was killed during his 3rd tour at the ripe old age of 23.That he had to live 5 years "in the closet" before paying the ultimate price still haunts me.

mbulicz 4 years, 9 months ago

What a shame. What an absolute shame. Stop discriminating and let soldiers serve.

notajayhawk 4 years, 9 months ago

"Democrats countered that the bill merely reflects public opinion. Recent polls suggest that a majority of Americans think the ban on gays in the military should be overturned."

So the Democrats are also in favor of repealing the health care 'reform' nonsense? Polls say most people think that was a mistake, too.

By the way, for all you folks screaming at the Republicans, who was the president who gave us 'DADT" and the Defense of Marriage Act?

jafs 4 years, 9 months ago

Good points.

Majority opinion is a bad guide to finding the correct action, in many cases. The reason we shouldn't discriminate against gay men and lesbians is because it violates our fundamental principles of equality - all created equal, etc.

And, I am very disappointed that Clinton did those things as well - and can't really understand why, unless it was part of some compromise somehow.

Jimo 4 years, 9 months ago

Actually, polling has been consistent for some time: each constituent part of health insurance reform is favored by the public (with the exception of the purchase mandate) - whatever the effects of multi-year, corporate-funded, constant demonization of the whole project. It's an open secret within the GOP that there is no serious plan to repeal anything about health reform - it's too lucrative of a fund-raising issue. Like so much Tea Party Phooey, slogans aren't proposals and hyperbole isn't a plan.

In contrast, DADT is opposed by 62% of Republicans! And roughly 80% of the rest of the population. You know there's a problem when the 'to the right of Attila the Hun' WSJ editorializes that the GOP should be thankful that the Democrats are pushing this within the Defense Authorization Bill and urging them to vote for it.

Failure in repealing such a universally unpopular statute tests the very proposition that this is a democratic government. This is quite literally no more universally unpopular law.

More importantly: homosexual patriots in our military continue daily to fight and even die to protect the right of nutjobs to play petty games with national security while John McCain settles further into senility.

notajayhawk 4 years, 9 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

notajayhawk 4 years, 9 months ago

Seriously? Seriously, award-winning LJW message board moderators? You're going to pull a post for saying "What a maroon"? Seriously? I've been through the terms of service, and you know what? I didn't see anything about the mention of colors, or emulation of cartoon rabbits.

I think you need to sharpen your erasers, moderators - if you're going to yank posts for that statement, you seem to have let several thousand slip through!

So tell me, is Jimo a LJW moderator, does his mother work there, or do you just not allow contradicting liberals?

notajayhawk 4 years, 9 months ago

"Actually, polling has been consistent for some time: each constituent part of health insurance reform is favored by the public (with the exception of the purchase mandate)"

Excuse me, respected fellow member of the award-winning LJW message boards, but if that is the case, don't you think that perhaps it might have been best to propose multiple pieces of legislation addressing those points separately, so they may have been voted on (and polled on) separately? And I think, respected fellow member of the award-winning LJW message boards, that you may have neglected to consider that without the one piece you admit polled with disfavor, the rest of the legislation could not have been enacted?

I also believe, respected fellow member of the award-winning LJW message boards, that if you further investigate the polls to which you refer, the approval ratings for the separate pieces are conditional at best. For example, respected fellow member of the award-winning LJW message boards, even the public option that failed had approval in the polls, but not if it raised taxes, added to the deficit, or competed unfairly with private companies, and only if everyone paid something into the system.

" - whatever the effects of multi-year, corporate-funded, constant demonization of the whole project."

This seems to be a little bit disingenuous, respected fellow member of the award-winning LJW message boards, although I'm sure I must be wrong, since you, as a respected fellow member of the award-winning LJW message boards, are incapable of such. But it would appear, to someone that is less familiar with your limitless knowledge and forthright nature, that you are saying polls finding disfavor with a position you personally approve of are somehow distorted by some kind of 'demonization' campaign, while polls that find disfavor with a position you disapprove of are inherently more accurate.

Kyle Reed 4 years, 9 months ago

Lol, this headline is a total sham. Republicans voted down the DREAM act which was also tacked on to this defense bill. If the Democrats really wanted a vote on DADT they wouldn't have slipped it into this piece of legislation and would have let it stand on it's own merits.

Just another example of the less than transparent way that business is done in Washington and the way the public swallows it hook, line, and sinker.

SpeedRacer 4 years, 9 months ago

McCain, who is leading the fight against DADT until the results of the military poll are made available in December (why it is taking 5 months to prepare a report I can only imagine) has no intention of voting for appeal no matter what the report says. This will be decided by SCOTUS. Having said that, Republican accusations that the amendments to the Defense Bill are unprecedented are ridiculous. When the GOP was in charge they tacked on plenty of provisions that had nothing to do with Defense.

Kyle Reed 4 years, 9 months ago

Unprecedented or not. It was wrong to tack provisions on then, and it is wrong now.

thusspokezarathustra 4 years, 9 months ago

Of course Republicans filibustered because they said they weren't allowed to add unlimited amendments to the bill. So I guess the Republican's excuse is they wanted unlimited ability to "tack provisions on" the bill?

Kyle Reed 4 years, 9 months ago

Wrong answer. They offered alternatives that didn't include the DREAM act. They were shot down. Try to pay attention to the conversation as otherwise your comments just cause static.

jafs 4 years, 9 months ago

Why did he have to "settle" for that?

What prevented him from simply removing the ban on service?

notajayhawk 4 years, 9 months ago

Clinton is defending his actions with the same old tired - and amusing - defense used by so many Democrats - he was lied to. According to a story out today, Clinton told Katie Couric that Colin-Powell 'misrepresented' the policy to him.

I always wonder why the Democrats seem to think that's a big selling point: "Vote for me 'cause I'm gullible as heck."

jafs 4 years, 9 months ago

If true, it's not a great selling point for Republicans - we lie all of the time.

thusspokezarathustra 4 years, 9 months ago

Congress overrode Clinton by including text in the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 1994 (passed in 1993) requiring the military to abide by regulations essentially identical to the 1982 absolute ban policy.

ebyrdstarr 4 years, 9 months ago

Why would they? Gay and straight men share showers and bunks in the military now. They share showers and locker rooms at gyms across the nation. They share bathrooms on dormitory floors. Why would they need separate showers in the military?

I think it's particularly telling that your question is specific to men. You express no concern about separating the lesbians from the straight women.

ebyrdstarr 4 years, 9 months ago

I can't discern the gist of your point because I don't think you have a valid one. The fact that you brush off my innocuous question as a hissy fit further suggests to me that you aren't being terribly rational on this issue. Seriously, is there a legitimate reason why gay and straight men cannot share showers in the military as they do in multiple other scenarios? What exactly is your concern?

oldvet 4 years, 9 months ago

"How does the military separate the gay men in the showers? "

With a crowbar, Corky...

thusspokezarathustra 4 years, 9 months ago

There are homosexuals and heterosexuals showering together in the military now and there doesn't seem to be any harm.

ebyrdstarr 4 years, 9 months ago

What are you talking about? Who is asking the military to identify people by sexual orientation? This is about asking the military to stop caring about sexual orientation. Right now, gays are not permitted to serve in the military. Don't ask don't tell means that they effectively can as long as they keep their sexual orientation private, meaning they can't talk openly about their significant others. Straight service members, though, can be completely open about their sexual orientation, can talk about their spouses, can display photographs of their significant others by their bunks in Iraq. Ending the ban on gay service in the military is about ending this unequal treatment, this divide.

thusspokezarathustra 4 years, 9 months ago

They don't want to "identify further" they want to be able to attend a Gay Rights rally or have a homosexual partner without it leading them to be kicked out of the military. If the military didn't discharge them there wouldn't be an issue.

thusspokezarathustra 4 years, 9 months ago

So they serve with honor and distinction on the field of battle but resort to juvenile, sex fiends if allowed to shower and sleep with those they might find attractive. Sure glad you conservatives respect the troops so much.

thusspokezarathustra 4 years, 9 months ago

I was General George Patton in a previous life time.

thusspokezarathustra 4 years, 9 months ago

That I outranked you in a previous life time?

grammaddy 4 years, 9 months ago

Not! Gays cannot even discuss their sexual preference but straights can talk about theirs all they want. " You will find yourself under Sharia law..."- fear-monger much?

BigPrune 4 years, 9 months ago

The democrats have the majority. How is this headline accurate?

grammaddy 4 years, 9 months ago

The Regurgicans filibustered. It takes 60 votes to stop a filibuster. We haven't had a "super- majority" since Senator Kennedy passed away over a year ago.

Scott Drummond 4 years, 9 months ago

"Don't ask, don't tell" repeal blocked by small-minded bigots who have no understanding of the US Constitution.

There, fixed it.

By the way, the overwhelming majority of small-minded bigot Senators were republicans.

As usual.

notajayhawk 4 years, 9 months ago

How many Democrats voted for DADT, scottie? The Republicans did not have a veto-proof majority at the time, did they?

booyalab 4 years, 9 months ago

Wait, so were the Democrats who originally enacted the law small-minded bigots?

notajayhawk 4 years, 9 months ago

Well, that explains things.

Oh, at least it might have - except for the DOMA.

booyalab 4 years, 9 months ago

DADT was all he could get past the Democratic congress. My point remains. Also, what notajayhawk said. I love how people act like the current definition of gay tolerance is a timeless moral standard, rather than a flash in the pan.

booyalab 4 years, 9 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

booyalab 4 years, 9 months ago

Well, my first comment in this thread apparently violated something or other. So I think I'll go the philosophical route. You're no better for calling DADT intolerant, small-minded, etc. You're just mainstream. Nothing that has been trendy for a tiny fraction of the history of the world is a matter of right or wrong. It's simply something that people think.

Jay Keffer 4 years, 9 months ago

This is such hooey.

Democrats blew this vote because Reid gambled and lost. The GOP called his bluff as he was playing pure politics and screwed the pooch.

Stupid media blames the GOP when it was Reid and the liberal defectors that shot down DADT.

Get it straight people; think beyond the headlines for a change.

DADT will be rescinded, no doubt, but not in this underhanded way.

Do some analysis - you will find who really is to blame.

Lugnuts.

Jay Keffer 4 years, 9 months ago

Was this a stand-alone bill? Or tied up with others in a political ploy?

ivalueamerica 4 years, 9 months ago

I am about ready for a revolution. I am freaking sick and tired of special rights for bigots, legislating those they are bigoted against to second class citizenry.

If bigots can not control themselves while serving in the armed forces, then bigots should be banned, imprisoned and kept away from children because they are a danger to society.

ivalueamerica 4 years, 9 months ago

I never said violent overthrow.

There are all sorts of revolutions.

But do not let facts get in the way of a good rant..

Just saying

davidsmom 4 years, 9 months ago

The legislative process is inherently corrupt. Non-related issues should be considered separately. When they are tacked together, it is no wonder it can be difficult to pass a bill. This is one thing that campaigns use to distort the truth. They will say that the opponent "voted against such and such," when in reality, he couldn't vote for one without the other, so he couldn't in good conscience vote for both. There are a variety of reasons why someone votes against a piece of legislation. These things are not one sentence long. As in the case of this particular piece, the unrelated issue was the Dream Act.

Kyle Reed 4 years, 9 months ago

Good to see at least one other person gets it and doesn't just fire off a knee jerk reaction response.

Jimo 4 years, 9 months ago

Why would an amendment dealing with military service for non-U.S. citizens be "unrelated" to a military bill?

The nature of any of these bills in their size. Anyone looking for any excuse to impede the process can pick a single item and use it as an excuse to vote against the whole. That is, if one dismisses the maxim that all politics is compromise.

The fact is that an entire Party voted against a defense bill during a time of war with troops in the field for no good reason besides procedural politics (the unnecessary rule that you must have a supermajority of votes to pass anything in the Senate). It's like burning the Bible because you don't think the Song of Solomon should be included (but the Wisdom of Solomon should be).

remember_username 4 years, 9 months ago

There you go! Both sides are playing politics in a similar way. I really don't think the framers designed lawmaking to work like that.

Kyle Reed 4 years, 9 months ago

"Why would an amendment dealing with military service for non-U.S. citizens be "unrelated" to a military bill?"

Because it has nothing to do with military funding.

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