Today, the U.S. Senate voted against a motion to begin debate on the National Defense Authorization Act, which contains a provision to repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” the ban on allowing lesbian, gay, and bisexual people from serving openly in the military. The Press Secretary of the White House issued the following statement from President Barack Obama regarding the failed vote:
I am extremely disappointed that yet another filibuster has prevented the Senate from moving forward with the National Defense Authorization Act. Despite having the bipartisan support of a clear majority of Senators, a minority of Senators are standing in the way of the funding upon which our troops, veterans and military families depend. This annual bill has been enacted each of the past 48 years, and our armed forces deserve nothing less this year.
A minority of Senators were willing to block this important legislation largely because they oppose the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” As Commander in Chief, I have pledged to repeal this discriminatory law, a step supported by the Secretary of Defense and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and informed by a comprehensive study that shows overwhelming majorities of our armed forces are prepared to serve with Americans who are openly gay or lesbian. A great majority of the American people agree. This law weakens our national security, diminishes our military readiness, and violates fundamental American principles of fairness, integrity and equality.
I want to thank Majority Leader Reid, Armed Services Committee Chairman Levin, and Senators Lieberman and Collins for all the work they have done on this bill. While today’s vote was disappointing, it must not be the end of our efforts. I urge the Senate to revisit these important issues during the lame duck session.
Many of the LGBT organizations were quick to respond to the failed vote as well.
“We all laid everything we could on the line for this bill — a piece of legislation that would have repealed ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,’” said Heather Cronk, Managing Director, of GetEQUAL. “We all know that gay and lesbian Americans are just as patriotic and capable as straight Americans — but dysfunctional Senate processes, a homophobic Republican Party, and a spineless Democratic Party got in the way of equality once again. Let us be clear — this wasn’t the bill we wanted. This compromised piece of legislation was far from the ideal — it would have left our transgender sisters and brothers behind, it kicked actual repeal to some undefined date later down the road, and it said nothing about how to deal with lesbian or gay enlistees who have partners who must remain second-class citizens because their lives are still ruled by the Defense of Marriage Act. And even this compromised piece of legislation didn’t pass.”
Other groups like the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) and the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) called out for Obama to take action.
“I am sickened by the message this sends to thousands of lesbian, gay, and bisexual service members and their families,” said Kate Kendell, the Executive Director of NCLR. This is a sad day in our nation’s history. We call on President Obama to immediately end the disgraceful discharges of hardworking soldiers and refuse to further defend Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell in court.”
“Also, as Commander in Chief, the President can issue an executive order to retain any soldier deemed necessary in a time of war – even though Congress has failed to remove the law from the books,” added Joe Solmonese, President of HRC.” President Obama must issue that order and end the discharges now.”
So what do you think readers? Will ‘Don’t Ask Don’t Tell’ be repealed this year? Will Obama issue an Executive Order to stop the discharges? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.
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