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Posted at 7:28 PM ET, 12/ 9/2010

'Don't ask, don't tell' vote fails: Reaction

By Ed O'Keefe

A Senate vote to move forward with debate on a bill ending the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy failed Thursday, delivering a near-fatal blow to efforts to allow gays to serve openly in military. Here's reaction from leaders and groups for and against the ban:

President Obama:

"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."

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi:

"The failure of the 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' repeal, as part of the Defense Authorization bill, on a procedural vote in the Senate is a serious disappointment to the many who have worked so hard to close the door on a fundamental unfairness.

"Since the repeal of 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' has broad support among Senators, our troops, and the American people, it is my hope that that the Senate will move forward with an alternative legislative method. The bipartisan proposal from Senators Lieberman and Collins provides renewed hope that progress is still possible in the Senate; an army of allies stands ready in the House to pass a standalone repeal of the discriminatory policy once the Senate acts.

"Moving forward to end the days of 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' will honor the service and sacrifice of all who dedicate their lives to protecting the American people."

Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin (D-Mich):

"I am deeply disappointed in today's vote. I strongly supported Sen. Reid's decision to attempt to bring the National Defense Authorization Act to the floor today, after months and months of waiting in hopes that Republicans would end their filibuster of the bill. Simply put, he could not submit to the Republican demand that we complete legislation on taxes and funding the government if we had any hopes of enacting an Authorization Act that includes repeal of "don't ask, don't tell" in this Congress.

"The amendment process Republicans had demanded, and the need to compress a House-Senate conference process that normally takes months into a few days, in addition to the need for both the House and Senate to pass the result of that conference, meant that there simply was no time to complete a bill including repeal of "don't ask, don't tell" if we didn't start work now. Under the Senate rules, if we broke the filibuster today, we would have to wait 30 hours before we could proceed to the bill, and then two days more before we could invoke cloture on the bill itself, and then another 30 hours before we could vote on final passage. When you add several days for the agreed upon amendment process, we needed to begin now if we had any hope of finishing a bill including "don't ask, don't tell" repeal language in time to reach agreement with the House and then pass the agreed-to bill in both the House and the Senate before the end of this Congress.

"I am 100 percent supportive of the stand-alone bill to repeal "don't ask, don't tell" that Sens. Lieberman and Collins have now proposed, and indeed I will co-sponsor that legislation. It is time for this discriminatory policy to end, and I am willing to pursue any effective legislative path that could lead to that result. The vote against bringing this bill to the Senate floor was a disservice to those who bear all the burdens of military service, and one more - the burden of constant anxiety that, just because of their sexual orientation, the nation that they love and want to serve may deny them the chance to do so.

"I also believe that it is vitally important to our national security to pass a Defense Authorization Act. I will continue to explore paths that could lead to that goal, though given the limited amount of time left in this Congress, that may be too high a mountain to climb."

Sen. Clarie McCaskill (D-Mo.), in comments to reporters after the vote:

"I think there was maybe a breakdown over the terminology between relevant and crazy. This is what happens when your Republican Party decides that reauthorizing everything we need to do for our military is less important than making sure you get that tax break from everybody's second million, and that's exactly what's happened now." ...

"A tax cut for multimillionaires is more important than pay raises for our military? I can't believe the American people are going to stand by and not get angry about this. We ought to be able to reauthorize our defense spending for the year. there are a lot of people all over the world right now in our military who are scratching their heads and saying, what in the world happened to the Republican Party that's always prided itself on supporting our military."

Sen. Lindsay Graham (R-S.C.), in comments to reporters after the vote:

"This is a political exercise that I think is unworthy of the Senate, quite frankly. You're not going to get our cooperation when you take these bills and you bring them up with no real certainty as to how we can participate in the debate and how many amendments we can offer. This is a check the box vote and there you are."

"I worry about what the courts may do. I think Secretary [Robert M.] Gates is right to be worried about courts requiring compliance over night."

Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), in comments to reporters after the vote:

"I support the repeal of 'don't ask, don't tell," and there are a lot of complications with the defense authorization bill and what we needed was a reasonable process with reasonable amendments. I think you saw that we didn't get that here." ...

"We are going to that tax bill right now. Why the majority leader could not have allowed for a timing that would help to facilitate greater support for this, allow for a reasonable amendment process, that is not too much to ask, but when you get slammed down and you say you've got a defense authorization bill that typically takes 10, 11 days and we're not going to allow for a reasonable process of amendments."

Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solomonese:

"There has always been strong support in the Senate for repeal of 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' and in recent days it's become clear that support reaches far beyond 60 votes. The issue has been the procedure by which the defense bill would be considered and given that no agreement was in place before today's vote on the motion to proceed, that effort was doomed to failure.

"Thankfully a bipartisan group of Senators has committed to finding an alternative method of achieving repeal. We encourage all Senators to expeditiously take up this bill and pass it quickly so that the military has the power to implement a repeal of 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell.'

"The fight for open service has had many twists and turns but until 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' is left in the dustbin of history we will never give up the fight."

Servicemembers Legal Defense Network Executive Director Aubrey Sarvis:

"Today a band of Senators voted to continue the discrimination against gay and lesbian service members who are fighting and dying for our country. This continued delay is an outrage against these service members and the more than 14,000 who have already lost their jobs under this discriminatory law.

"History will hold these senators accountable and so will many of their constituents. There will be no place for these Senators to hide. The Senate and the President must remain in session and in Washington to find another path for repeal to get done in the lame-duck. While difficult, realistic options still exist for advocates and Senators to move repeal this year.

"We need to keep pushing as the Senate is scheduled to break for holiday vacation. We implore all who support repeal to join us outside the Senate this Friday. As Secretary of Defense Robert Gates said, 'If not now, when?'"

Richard Soccarides, a former gay rights adviser to Bill Clinton:

"While there is certainly plenty of blame to go around, fundamentally it was the decision made at the White House to push this into 2010 and then into the lame duck that doomed it. It was a lack of will as much as a lack of votes that doomed this today.

"Rest assured, we will not have Don't Ask, Don't Tell around for long anyway. Either the federal courts or the President or both will have to see to that."

OutServe Executive Director J.D. Smith:

"Today's vote is heartbreaking and demoralizing to all members of OutServe - and the tens of thousands of gay, lesbian, and bisexual service members - who must continue to serve in silence and live a lie. No words can describe how it felt to watch our U.S. senators uphold discrimination and perpetuate the deceit and compromised integrity that consistently result under 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell.' We had more faith in our elected officials to heed the advice of military leadership and vote against prejudice. Instead, a minority of senators have successfully blockaded the entire defense spending bill on the basis of prejudice and politics. This was nothing short of turning their backs on the people that defend this country.

"The men and women of our military have been left out to dry. The troops, not these senators, will have to live with the consequences. And the ongoing court cases will continue to sow confusion among the ranks.

"The Senators that hid behind 'procedure' chose to put politics over the lives of the troops. These senators should be ashamed."

Servicemembers United Executive Director Alex Nicholson:

"This was a major failure on the part of the Senate to simply do its job and pass an annual defense authorization bill. Politics prevailed over responsibility today, and now more than one million American servicemembers, including tens of thousands of gay and lesbian troops, are worse off as a result.

"Since the votes are there in isolation, the Senate should still consider a stand-alone bill to repeal the 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' law before adjourning for the winter holidays."

National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Executive Director Rea Carey:

"The Senate's failure to allow a vote on 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' repeal is a huge disgrace and disservice to our country. Senators had an opportunity -- and an obligation -- to move toward ending an outdated, unnecessary and costly policy that discriminates against courageous and qualified people willing to risk their lives by serving in the military. How many more personal and painful stories of discrimination must these lawmakers hear before they act to end this harmful policy? How many more exhaustive Pentagon studies need to be done that affirm it's time to end the ban? Three-quarters of Americans say 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' should be repealed, as do top military leaders. People from every background, every faith, every community across the country know that qualified, patriotic Americans willing to risk their lives by serving in the military should be able to do so, free of discrimination.

"Despite today's obstructionism by a few politicians, 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' will end. We will continue to work to ensure all qualified Americans who wish to serve their country openly and freely are able to do so. We must, because the lives and livelihoods of thousands of dedicated service members hang in the balance."

Center for American Progress Senior Vice President Winnie Stachelberg:

"The U.S. Senate voted this afternoon to not proceed to debate the 2011 NDAA (National Defense Authorization Act). This was a vote against our national security and the men and women fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan. It was also a step backward in efforts to repeal DADT (the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy), which Secretary of Defense Gates and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mullen have urged the Senate to do in the current lame duck session.

"The Center for American Progress strongly urges the Senate to pursue other legislative options including a stand-alone bill calling for DADT's repeal in the remaining days of the current session of Congress. A growing number of senators from both parties have recently indicated they support repealing DADT. They agree that the policy is ineffective, discriminatory, and costly. It is time for it to be erased from our nation's laws."

People for the American Way President Michael B. Keegan:

"Don't Ask, Don't Tell has been a failed experiment in discrimination--it has kept countless patriotic Americans from serving their country in the military, and sent thousands of brave men and women packing after honorable careers in the armed forces. For too long, an unjust, ineffective, and unpopular policy has been kept in place by the divisive politics of the far-right fringe. As Sec. Gates has acknowledged, Don't Ask, Don't Tell won't hold up for long in the court of law. The Senate's refusal to end the policy at Sec. Gates' request--and to sink an important Defense bill along with it--is short-sighted and irresponsible, and puts right-wing politics ahead of national security."

Staff writer Phil Rucker contributed to this report.

Leave your thoughts in the comments section below

By Ed O'Keefe  | December 9, 2010; 7:28 PM ET
Categories:  Congress, Military  
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Comments


Now all the leftists and the screamers' attorneys get a one sided reaction and that is what WaPo prints. None of those homosexual front groups being quoted are "leaders" of anything that the voters elected.

Posted by: screwjob23 | December 9, 2010 10:03 PM | Report abuse


Now all the leftists and the screamers' attorneys get a one sided reaction and that is what WaPo prints. None of those homosexual front groups being quoted are "leaders" of anything that the voters elected.

Posted by: screwjob23 | December 9, 2010 10:04 PM | Report abuse

Whenever the President gives an address to the military at an academy, in a war zone, or on a military base, they there are -- our men and women dressed in their fatigues standing side by side. Is there any reason why both homosexual as well as heterosexual men and women soldiers should not be standing there behind their President?

Posted by: kencamarro | December 9, 2010 10:15 PM | Report abuse

Whenever the President gives an address to the military at an academy, in a war zone, or on a military base, they there are -- our men and women dressed in their fatigues standing side by side. Is there any reason why both homosexual as well as heterosexual men and women soldiers should not be standing there behind their President?

Posted by: kencamarro | December 9, 2010 10:16 PM | Report abuse

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Posted by: zhengee25 | December 9, 2010 11:04 PM | Report abuse

This entire DADT stuff is pissy ant nothing that has no meaning on anything.
The American people are tired of all the political nonsense ona non-issue. Everyone should keep their pants on and their sexual orientation private in and out of the services. Most of us are simply fed up with these issues perpetuated by the MSM. Get to the heart of some real issues for a change - like getting our troops out of a couple of meaningless fights half way around the world;fleecing the taxpayers and wasting our resources. Let's get on with protecting our borders, rewriting immigration laws, restoring a balance between Wall Sreet and main street, striving for energy independence, putting control of public education back to the states and local control, fostering policies that put people back to work in real jobs, re-industrializing this country and getting some high speed rail service started in the appropriate corridors.

Posted by: shangps | December 9, 2010 11:27 PM | Report abuse

This is the worst news ever. Everyone knows that when jobs are in the toilet, we are in a recession and all American companies have no idea what the tax rate is - that it's time to stop the atrocity of not allowing a gay man or woman wear their sexuality on their sleeve when training or on the battlefield.

Everyone knows that the military cannot function unless everyone's sexuality is out in the open and brought up often.


Get a clue liberals. Please.

Posted by: kryan74 | December 10, 2010 1:02 AM | Report abuse

This is the worst news ever. Everyone knows that when jobs are in the toilet, we are in a recession and all American companies have no idea what the tax rate is - that it's time to stop the atrocity of not allowing a gay man or woman wear their sexuality on their sleeve when training or on the battlefield.

Everyone knows that the military cannot function unless everyone's sexuality is out in the open and brought up often.


Get a clue liberals. Please.

Posted by: kryan74 | December 10, 2010 1:03 AM | Report abuse

This is the worst news ever. Everyone knows that when jobs are in the toilet, we are in a recession and all American companies have no idea what the tax rate is - that it's time to stop the atrocity of not allowing a gay man or woman wear their sexuality on their sleeve when training or on the battlefield.

Everyone knows that the military cannot function unless everyone's sexuality is out in the open and brought up often.


Get a clue liberals. Please.

Posted by: kryan74 | December 10, 2010 1:04 AM | Report abuse


FROM THE ONSET, OBAMA
MADE THE MILITARY A VEHICLE
FOR THE ADVANCEMENT OF A
VESTED POLITICAL INTEREST

Obama says, “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.”

I think a good political cartoon comes to the mind of everyone here, that shows Obama, as the supreme commander, standing in between Gates and Mullen, with a loaded revolver pointed at each one of their heads, while he gives this little speech. At a whim, Obama had the power to strip them both of their stature and their office. Everyone was required to OBEY the Commander in Chief, and not a bit of this process could be separated out from the coercive pressures associated with this top down chain of command. Very much like when you have a leader who uses his position of power to exact sexual favors from his subordinates. From the beginning, this whole process had the corrupt flavor to it.

Posted by: GoldenEagles | December 10, 2010 6:50 AM | Report abuse

Where are the 'Publican comments--McConnell and Boehner for starters?

Posted by: mini2 | December 10, 2010 7:29 AM | Report abuse


A Great Victory has Been Won
Over the Forces of Homosexuality

With the DEFEAT of the effort to repeal the DADT policy in the U.S. Senate in the late afternoon of December 9, 2010, a Great Victory has Been Won Over the Forces of Homosexuality.

Every American who understands the mortal danger that America faces to her very survival with each advance of the homosexual agenda, they can breathe a great sigh of relief at this victory, for the thin blue line held, and the nation stepped back, for a moment, from a head long plunge into the abyss of self-destruction.

However, now is NOT the time to lay back, and bask in the afterglow of a victorious campaign. Now is the time to muster the troops anew, and to carry the battle forward, in pursuit of the retreating, cowering, and fleeing forces of darkness. Let our trumpets of victory ring out, that never again, could the forces of darkness come so close as to battering down the very gate of the American castle of truth and moral sanity. Summon now the forces of heaven, for they alone are up to the final task of delivering our nation into a new day of hope, and purity.

To that end, let this prayer be on the lips of every patriot.

O God, my Dear Heavenly Father, I Am That I Am, indeed, whose precious child I am, in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, please send legions of Holy Angels now, marching triumphantly, to cast out all homosexuals from the U.S. Military, from all positions within our National Security Establishment, and from every position of responsibility in whatever department of American life they have entered with their corrupting spirit, especially throughout the educational institutions of our land, and in every department of the mass media, and throughout all government institutions, local, state and federal. Deliver our nation O God from the horror of this dark shadow of moral insanity. Fully accepting the promise of the Lord Jesus Christ, that that which I ask of you, in his name, that you will do. I therefore accept it done right now with full power. Amen.

Every person, indeed every patriot, who is interested in the survival of America as a free and prosperous nation, should say this prayer every morning for the rest of their life. When your eyes open in the morning, reach for the paper that this prayer is printed on, and say it. In this way, will we never again have to face the prospect of so closely dodging such a fatal bullet, dripping with the poison of sinister intent, aimed at the very heart of our nation.

Posted by: GoldenEagles | December 10, 2010 7:50 AM | Report abuse

GOOD

Posted by: robertbeaver | December 10, 2010 9:31 AM | Report abuse

GOOD

Posted by: robertbeaver | December 10, 2010 9:33 AM | Report abuse

No matter how many bigots rant, the time has changed. American will join the modern world--either through legislative action or the judicial process. It is inevitable. Get over it.

Posted by: fairness3 | December 10, 2010 9:57 AM | Report abuse

Deny family and neighbors exist.
Deny military funding.
Deny honor and integrity.
Deny fairness and equality.
Deny family and responsibility.
Deny justice through courts.

Then tell me what is worth fighting for in a Republican "America."

Tax breaks for millionaires that balloon the deficit.

Who needs foreign terrorists or domestic traitors? There are 40, serving right now, in the Senate. They will never have enough to buy loyalty or private forces needed to secure their empires.

Posted by: ldfrmc | December 10, 2010 11:06 AM | Report abuse


SODOM - REDUX

fairness3 says, "no matter how many bigots rant, the time has changed. American will join the modern world--either through legislative action or the judicial process. It is inevitable. Get over it."

I am sure that you would have heard much the same kind of sentiment expressed on the streets of the City of Sodom. And look what happened to them. Let us remember the lessons of history.

Posted by: GoldenEagles | December 10, 2010 11:18 AM | Report abuse

 
1. Mr. Obama Has Been Always Supportive Of Bush Deficit Creator Tax Cut Exactly As Republicans Agenda.
2. Mr. Obama Pushed and Removed """" Public Option From Health Care """" , Forced and tricked Democrats Congress and Senate with the Help Of the People Like "" Blanche L. Lincoln """"""" Exactly As Republicans Asked and Agenda """""""

3. Mr. Obama Forced Senate and Congress to be """ Delayed Health Care Activation Until 2014 """" ,Gave Republicans By Design Around 5 Years to Repeal and Cancel it, """"""" Exactly As Republicans Asked and Agenda """""""

4. Mr. Obama Guantanamo, 2 years later is not Closed yet t""""""" Exactly As Republicans Asked and Agenda """""""

5. Mr. Obama .Health Care, It Has Been All the Way Water Down """"""" Exactly As Republicans Asked and Agenda """""""

6. Mr. Obama Never Created Specific and Effective Program Of Job Creation for New Generation and Middle Class.
Instead Spent All His Time Dumping Money To Banks, GM, GoldMan, """"""" Exactly As Bush Republicans Asked and Agenda """""""

7. Mr. Obama JOBS, Instead of Creating Effective JOB Creation Program, Mr. Obama Dumped Money to Wall Street, Banks,
Financial Firms, Witch Did Not Create JOBS, And the Money From U.S.A Bank Went """"""" Offshore That Where the American Jobs Are """"""" Exactly As Republicans Asked and Agenda """""""

8. Mr. Obama On American JOBS Outsource, Did Nothing Absolutely Nothing mean NADA to Stop """""""""" Shipping American Jobs Offshore and Revers The Bush Republicans JOBS OutSourcing Legislation S.1637
""""""" Exactly As Republicans Asked and Agenda """""""

9.Mr. Obama On Jobs Doing Nothing , Bush Republicans JOBS OutSourcing Support Legislation S.1637 is Stil there Witch Every Day Ships American Jobs Offshore.
""""""""" Senate Outsourcing Legislation S.1637 S.1637 S.1637 S.1637 S.1637 S.1637 S.1637 S.1637 S.1637 S.1637 S.1637 S.1637 S.1637 """"""""""""""

Posted by: stop-outsourcers | December 10, 2010 11:19 AM | Report abuse

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