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Posted at 11:05 AM ET, 12/ 8/2010

Senate procedural vote on 'don't ask, don't tell' postponed

By Ed O'Keefe

Updated 6:15 p.m. ET:
The Senate postponed a procedural vote Wednesday to move forward on a defense bill that would end the military's "don't ask, don't tell" law, giving Senate Democrats more time to negotiate with moderate Republican senators willing to support ending the ban on gays in the military.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) had announced plans earlier Wednesday to hold a procedural vote on the bill, but Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), a key moderate vote on the issue, said late in the day that she would not support the efforts until senators voted on bills regarding tax cuts and government spending.

The Maine Republican has negotiated for more than a week with Reid and Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman (I-Conn.) on terms of an agreement favorable enough to win her vote to move forward on the defense bill, plus the support of Republicans, including Sens. Scott Brown (Mass.), Lisa Murkowski (Alaska) and John Ensign (Nev.).

In a key concession, Reid promised Collins an opportunity for Republicans to introduce 10 amendments to the defense bill, with Democrats introducing up to five. Collins also asked for four days to debate the bill and amendments.

"If he does that I will do all that I can to help him proceed to the bill. But if he does not do that, then I will not," Collins told reporters.

In an effort to shore up support, President Obama called several senators on both sides of the aisle to discuss the defense bill and other pending legislation in the last two days, the White House said. Collins said she spoke with Obama on Tuesday regarding several pieces of pending legislation.

Despite Obama's outreach, supporters of ending the gay ban urged Reid to move first on tax cut and government spending bills to stave off a potential filibuster by Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and other GOP critics during the lame-duck session.

McCain, the ranking Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee, wants the panel to hold hearings with frontline military commanders and senior noncommissioned officers before voting to repeal the law. The committee heard last week from Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates, Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Adm. Mike Mullen and the chiefs of the military service branches after the release of a Pentagon study on how to end the law.

The defense bill failed in September to garner the 60 votes necessary to move forward. Wednesday's action would be similar to what occurred in September and would not represent a final vote on the issue.

Holding an ultimately unsuccessful vote would further enrage liberal Democrats and gay rights activists upset with congressional Democrats and President Obama for failing to deliver on a pledge he made during the 2008 presidential campaign and in this year's State of the Union address.

An unsuccessful vote could lead to several scenarios, including a standalone bill to end "don't ask, don't tell," adding repeal to the tax or spending legislation expected to pass in the next week, or postponing debate on the issue until the new year and the start of a Republican-dominated Congress.

If Congress doesn't act, the Pentagon and gay rights advocates have warned that federal judges considering cases that challenge the constitutionality of the ban could at any time order an immediate end to the ban, leading to potential chaos for military recruiters and troops in the field.

A successful vote would put the issue back on the Senate's formal to-do list, making it possible for senators to debate and vote on the bill before the end of next week, when they plan to go home.

Leave your thoughts in the comments section below.

By Ed O'Keefe  | December 8, 2010; 11:05 AM ET
Categories:  Congress, Military  
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This is another issue that should be laid at the doorstep of the White House. All the non-sense in the Senate could be ended if the President just issued an executive order to end DADT.

Posted by: radiationdude98 | December 8, 2010 11:52 AM | Report abuse

radiationdude, the President can't issue an executive order as DADT was passed into law by Congress in the 90's (see Pub.L. 103-160 (10 U.S.C. § 654)):'t_ask,_don't_tell

An executive order can't override validly enacted legislation. So DADT will continue to be in force until either Congress or the Courts change the law.

Posted by: rdanay | December 8, 2010 12:47 PM | Report abuse

Pass it as a stand alone bill. Time is running out. One reason Pres. lost his leverage because the Senate is so slow. Reid needs to be replaced soon. Chuck Schumer(?) or Durbin would do a better job. I say, no one goes home until this and the tax cuts and the military budget is passed. They don't go home for the holidays, they go home to raise more money. I think campaign finance should be the first thing on the table. Public finance only/six months only for campaigning/free TV commercials. This would end all the BS.

Posted by: jgp38 | December 8, 2010 12:49 PM | Report abuse

McCain is so far over the hill he can't see the top anymore.

Posted by: seaduck2001 | December 8, 2010 1:07 PM | Report abuse

To repeal the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” is a serious mistake that will have repercussions that Obama Democrat are not prepared to handle. Gen. Amos stated the problem precisely, “divert leadership attention away from an almost singular focus of preparing units for combat”. Veterans of America protest and write Republicans in Congress.

Many Americans agree with Senator John McCain and support his claim against the survey. The findings should not be used by the Senate and warnings should be issued to the American people because the findings are not valid.

GOP challenge Obama’s repeal of DADT. If this government DADT survey were conducted by a college sophomore, the instructor would rate methods and questions unacceptable to validate any summary findings. Read the question relative to “ability to carry out mission” and the response categories. A response rate of 70% is invalid for little or no effect because the question also included mixed.

U.S. troops responded based on mixed effects on carrying out the mission? Openly gay in the military will have a significant impact on the chain of command required to be trained on accommodating openly gays and educating non gay troops. Gay rights for “open homosexuals coming out” represent a very small number in the armed forces; however, disproportionately requires massive and costly changes to military structure and operations.

The findings of the DADT survey were written and interpreted in political bias for a prescribed outcome that openly gay soldiers will cause little problems for the armed forces. Survey should provided answers to relevant questions such as would you object to sharing a room with an openly gay soldier. Would it make a difference if a member of your platoon was openly gay or DADT?

Responses from more experience soldiers with combat experience and lengthen of time in military service duty should be compared to new recruits and service time under a year. Experience provides a basis for a more realistic and reliable response.

Write Congress to challenge the result of the DADT survey and require testimony from certified research Ph.D.s to evaluate the methodology and validity of survey findings. What are the rights of heterosexuals to file lawsuits against the military for sexual harassment and violations of privacy perpetrated by openly gay soldiers?

Posted by: klausdmk | December 8, 2010 1:21 PM | Report abuse

McCain has lost his moral compass and is of no value in publicspeak. After all, look at his governor (in Arizona) for understanding the political climate from which he hails...backward

Posted by: fairness3 | December 8, 2010 1:37 PM | Report abuse

Susan Collins is NOT a "moderate" Republican.


Posted by: Ethan2010 | December 8, 2010 1:42 PM | Report abuse

70% of the public and military SUPPORT gays in the military and repeal of DADT.

Setting aside the treasonous Wikileaks behavior of a disgruntled gay seems a simple issue EXCEPT in the details... apparently 60% of the combat forces: army and marines are OPPOSED.

I suppose liberals win either way.. gays in the military, and success or failure of the military, due to gays is still a two-fer victory but Republicans still think national security and military effectiveness are IMPORTANT.

Maybe a two-stage compromise ? How about repeal DADT for the majority non-combat parts of the military ? Than IF successful... repeal downstream in the combat forces ?

Posted by: pvilso24 | December 8, 2010 1:49 PM | Report abuse

If gays are allowed to openly serve what will the next gay army private leak when things don't go the gay way?

Posted by: IamWright | December 8, 2010 2:12 PM | Report abuse

One of McCain's comments to General Petraeus was that he (McCain) always consulted military personnel before making "IMPORTANT" decisions about the military.

Anyone care to NAME any IMPORTANT military decision that McCain ever made?

(Yes, I'm a Naval Aviator Veteran, too!)

Posted by: lufrank1 | December 8, 2010 3:23 PM | Report abuse

Another example of an Obama cave in. The guy needs to issue an executive order as CIC and this non-sense.

Hillary in 2012

Obama, go join your Republican Party.

Posted by: Maddogg | December 8, 2010 3:51 PM | Report abuse

Silly Dims, it is not going to happen in the lame duck session. Reid knows he does not have the votes; he is just trying to save face.

In the actual report it says 56.1% of Marines believe that an open or known homosexual in their unit has a negative impact on morale and unit cohesion. As for the false "70%" figure that is bandied about before the report was published ... the actual report puts the lie to that. By the way there is not one single question in military survey that asked service members if they support repeal of DADT. The question was never asked.

Nothing personal Dims, it is simply a matter of votes. There are now 42 GOP Senators not 41, and there are 2 new Dim votes against repeal (Manchin and Webb).

Does Barry have the votes? No.

Posted by: screwjob23 | December 8, 2010 3:52 PM | Report abuse

McCain needs to go live with some gays and lesbians for a while. The man lacks any common sense.

Posted by: Maddogg | December 8, 2010 3:55 PM | Report abuse

Silly Dims, there is no way that repeal of DADT is going to happen in the lame duck session. Go ahead and call for your vote Harry Reid, which will fail. It is just a face saving measure for Reid; he knows it will fail.

Nothing personal Dims, it is all about the votes. There are two more Dims than last time who voted against repeal: Newly elected Joe Manchin (D-WV), and Jim Webb (D-VA) who voted against it in committee.

There are now 42 GOP senators not 41 as there were in September. Good luck with that Dims.

Does Barry have the votes? No.

Posted by: screwjob23 | December 8, 2010 3:57 PM | Report abuse

The best military in the world, Isreal's, doesn't care if anyone is gay or straight. Only the reactionaries like McCain and the marine generals. I guess they never heard of a gay marine.

Posted by: msjn1 | December 8, 2010 3:59 PM | Report abuse

So, klausdmk, are you an expert in survey design and analysis? Because unless you are, you have no standing. Not to mention the current study shows exactly what every other study into the performance of openly gay troops (conducted since just after WW II) has demonstrated - the hysterical fears of the haters of the world, like John McCain, are totally overblown.

More importantly, if LGBT citizens are so disruptive to good order, why does the military employ hundreds, if not thousands, of openly LGBT individuals in their workforce? In addition to the more than 66,000 gay and lesbian service members, there are citizens of all kinds who are integral to the good performance of the military. Yet somehow all those good straight soldiers, sailors and airmen manage to work alongside them without any incidents - and that includes the openly gay members of our allies' forces.

I guess you think it's okay for Sheila Hein to be murdered at her desk in the Pentagon on 9/11 and for Mark Bingham to fight back against the hijackers on United 93, thereby saving the Capitol building, not to mention the dozens of other LGBT victims of 9/11, but it's not okay for us to demand the full respect and consideration of our rights as citizens?

Posted by: CPT_Doom | December 8, 2010 4:00 PM | Report abuse

"McCain needs to go live with some gays and lesbians for a while. The man lacks any common sense."

Maddog - his chief of staff, who also acts as his campaign manager during re-election cycles, is not only openly gay, but in a registered domestic partnership in the District of Columbia. McCain is not ignorant, he's just a hypocrite.

Posted by: CPT_Doom | December 8, 2010 4:02 PM | Report abuse

The best military in the world, Isreal's, doesn't care if anyone is gay or straight. Only the reactionaries like McCain and the marine generals. I guess they never heard of a gay marine.

Posted by: msjn1 | December 8, 2010 3:59 PM | Report abuse


Israel lives in such a hostile world that differences among soldiers are very easy to suppress.

Besides, Israel drafts everyone -- all able-bodied men and women serve.

Posted by: blasmaic | December 8, 2010 4:26 PM | Report abuse

O Ed O'Keefe, yours is a biased article, your bias in favor of repeal, it shows clearly, anyone can see that you are in favor of repeal, but ¿how about writing an unbiased article on the subject? Huh??

Posted by: abu_ibrahim | December 8, 2010 4:28 PM | Report abuse

Just what does "serving openly" mean?

Does that mean guys will use their "gay" voice? Cross-dress? Dance around instead of marching?

Has anybody given any ideas as to exactly what changes are expected to occur?

I'm not for pansies being in the Marines, and I can't understand why soldier sexual preferences can't be exercised off duty and off base.

Posted by: lindalovejones | December 8, 2010 5:04 PM | Report abuse

The 'ending of' or 'continuation of' IS NOT any of the business of the Senate, nor the House of Representatives. They CANNOT tell the Pentagon nor the Military leaders how to command the military services.

Ending DADT is not as easy as just taking a vote, and then declaring it 'gone'. Each of the military commanders will have to figure out how to incorporate any new rules into existing ones, without compromising the missions of the military services, without giving homosexual soldiers separate and unequal "special" treatment not given to heterosexual soldiers.

Even if DADT is someday 'gone', gay people will still be required to keep their 'gayness' under control. They aren't EVER going to be allowed to have daily 'gay pride parades'; won't be allowed to have open sex or PDA's on the job or while in military uniform.

If gays in the military think life without DADT is going to be 'mardi gras' all year long, they are going to be in for one horribly rude awakening. They will still be subject to the UCMJ, dishonorable discharges due to misconduct. Life in the military will probably be more difficult should DADT be eliminated. But that will be the problem they've asked for, so they better not whine when what they thought they wanted, turns out to be not as great and as easy as they thought it would be for them.

Posted by: momof20yo | December 8, 2010 6:07 PM | Report abuse

When this process is over, those who clamored for Reid to give in to the "reasonable" demand for amendments are going to be kicking themselves...

Posted by: rmnelson | December 8, 2010 7:57 PM | Report abuse

DADT Doom and Gloom?

38 other countries, many our allies, did this. England took just 4 months from legislation to full force implementation - with NO retention or recruitment problems.

In fact, the military now regularly recruits at Gay Pride events because the education and potential for achievement is so high among gay recruits AND (a dirty little secret) most gay recruits are (surprise) unmarried - no spouse, dependent benefits or expenses.

Send Snow and Collins off to the opera to sing their prima donna duet and get this policy repealed - NOW!

McWayne? Give a pacifier to suck on.

Posted by: ldfrmc | December 8, 2010 8:27 PM | Report abuse

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Posted by: itkonlyyou414 | December 8, 2010 9:31 PM | Report abuse

Dear momof20yo,

I fear you must have been sleeping during your American government class in high school when they covered our democratic system, since your claim to the effect that the military doesn't have to take orders from Congress regarding how it does its job is simply wrong. If the Congress passed DADT, the military was obligated to implement the policy - and it did; and, likewise, if Congress repeals DADT, the military will be obligated to end the implementation of the policy.

Beyond that, you show great ignorance regarding the goal of LGBT persons in seeking repeal of the policy. I don't know what "special treatment" you believe gay soldiers would require that straight soldiers don't, but you ignore the fact that the DADT policy already requires the military to give gay soldiers "special treatment," that treatment involving discharging often highly competent military personnel whose training had cost the nation tens of thousands of taxpayer dollars, many of whom were filling critical functions in our war against terrorism (such as Arabic translation). Gay soldiers are asking that they no longer be subjected to such "special treatment" simply on account of their sexual orientation, but that they be treated "like everyone else," that is, to be judged on the basis of job performance and contribution to the effort of their unit.

By "keeping their gayness under control," I assume you mean that gay personnel - who, by the way, include women - not harass or assault their comrades sexually. You rightly point out that they would be subject to the UCMJ, just like their straight counterparts. If you asked a gay soldier whether he or she was willing to abide by the UCMJ, I'm guessing you would get a 100% affirmative response. However, my further guess is that the problem would be more likely to come from straight soldiers harassing and assaulting the gay, rather than the other way around. We'll see, once the policy has been revoked.

That you think that gay soldiers want "daily gay pride parades," "open sex", "PDAs" (I had to look that up - I assume you mean "public displays of affection"), or "mardi gras all year long" is simply a case of your imagination taking flight on the worst stereotypes of the gay population and, on that account, far from the truth. I hope you watch and learn and come to appreciate that, when gay soldiers can finally be open about who they are, they will show themselves to be among the finest our military has produced. For you to believe that gay soldiers will "whine" because military life is "so hard" is ludicrous! Gay soldiers have been meeting the demands of military life as well as or better than their compatriots, all the while, hiding a key element of who they are. If anything, their lives will be much easier than ever before, and their service to our country even more beneficial. Just watch!


Posted by: dougasbury | December 9, 2010 2:53 AM | Report abuse

Qu**rs don't belong in the Military period. Then you wouldn't be worried about this vote and you would be tending to the real problems facing America . All this smoke and mirrors is to hide all the shortcomings of the politicians in the New Republicrat Party , who are scared to death to work hard for a living, and would sell their souls to live off the sweat of those who do.

Posted by: puck-101 | December 9, 2010 3:37 AM | Report abuse

A lot of useless countries with weak militaries allow homos for sure. But what about stong countries with powerful armed forced that are adversaries of the United States?

China does not; neither does North Korea; nor does Iran. Nor do Cuba and Venezuala for that matter and Fidel and Chavez are probably laughing their heads off. South Korea don’t neither does Vietnam.

Posted by: screwjob22 | December 9, 2010 6:06 AM | Report abuse

The bible makes it perfectly clear that
the lord Jesus has condemed Homos and
Lesbians to death, along with other
criminals. So the military has approved
a plan to provide these People a place
to hide out. But God and the angels know
where you are 24/7. They will find you and throw you into Hell. I suggest that you take out some very good fire insurance, because you will need it where you are going.
Dont look for fire hoses either, There is none. Have fun boys and girls

Posted by: chuckBurress | December 9, 2010 10:47 AM | Report abuse

@screwjob22: "A lot of useless countries..."

Your posting name and opening phrase say it all.

How many people in a day do you encounter and consider "useless" to your self-center and self-absorbed universe?

Australia (not much happens in Southern hemisphere)
Canada (hockey yes, military no?)
Czech Republic
Germany (who could possible need them?)
Israel (weakest, most unnecessary military)
New Zealand
Russia (a tiny country with useless people?)
South Africa
United Kingdom (haven't needed these allies?)

Posted by: ldfrmc | December 9, 2010 11:24 AM | Report abuse

@momo20you: "Life in the military will probably be more difficult should DADT be eliminated."

"Probably"?! When DADT is repealed, men and women who are in the military will continue their service without being told to leave because of who they are. Most certainly, life will be a hell of a lot better.

Someone who claims they can't cope with serving among these people is not going to have more "difficulties" IN the military either. They'll be discharged.

Discharges will continue for gays and a lot more straights than gays, for all sorts of other reasons, like misconduct. That does not change with repeal of DADT.

How will consensual relations between two soldiers off-duty or on leave be handled when they are two men or women who are married stateside?

How will promotion and supervision be changed because DOMA says the federal government (including the military) does not recognize any family relationship between the two soldiers? Can a commander promote, or favor his husband without objection? They are not recognized as married, so they can serve in the same unit.

When you are told the rules are the same, but they are not, then it's easy to lie about who you are. And it's ironically just, to go on not telling because part of the policy still applies - you can't ask, "Are you two married? Do you know each other?" The government says they are legal strangers.

Fitting end to DADT.

Posted by: ldfrmc | December 9, 2010 11:51 AM | Report abuse

@IamWright: "If gays are allowed to openly serve what will the next gay army private leak when things don't go the gay way?"

So his serving in silence, not openly, prevented what happened? Check your logic.

American history is replete with leakers, spies and traitors. Like the population, they are predominately: white, christian, straight, males and several infamous straight, married couples.

Want to eliminate all those groups from service? Then why just gays?

The holiday is Christmas now. Halloween witches were a couple of months back.

Posted by: ldfrmc | December 9, 2010 12:11 PM | Report abuse

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