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Posted at 4:25 PM ET, 12/ 8/2010

Susan Collins: Let's make a deal on don't ask, don't tell [Updated]

By Jonathan Capehart

This has been one sloppy day in the ongoing saga to end don't ask don't tell. Read Greg Sargent's excellent blog post and subsequent updates for the complete and harrowing play-by-play on where things stand. News that Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) will vote in favor of repeal is another sign that the reports of the effort to end the ban on gay men and lesbians serving openly in the military had hit a wall were premature.

Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) told me that she is fine with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's (D-Nev.) offer of 15 amendments -- 10 for Republicans and 5 for Democrats. The only question is the time allotted to debate them. Contrary to the ham-handed efforts by Reid staffers to throw Collins under the bus, she is not demanding unlimited debate time. What she wants is a "reasonable" amount of time. She'd be fine if Reid were to allow, say, two hours of debate (one hour for Democrats and one hour for Republicans) for each amendment.
Collins told me that the time issue is important to her because she is "trying to make sure the rights of the minority are protected." Ain't nothing wrong with that in my view at this late hour.

The plan was for Reid to introduce the motion to reconsider the defense authorization this evening. Now there's word he's reconsidering. Good. To force a vote before negotiations with Collins and Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.), whose behind-the-scenes work on this issue have gone unheralded, have concluded would be the ultimate in bad faith. And it would tell me that Reid is more interested in scoring political points and laying blame than getting something done.

I've been a broken record on this issue because we have never been this close to ending this shameful discriminatory policy through the legislative process. There is time to get this and other things done -- if there is the political will to do it. And if there isn't the courts have made it clear they may well do something on their own. For the courts to do what Reid and the Senate won't ought to be considered a humiliation.

Update, 5:45 p.m.: This just in from the office of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid: "If a little more time on each amendment was all she's asking, Senator Reid would have shaken her hand and called it a deal by now."

By Jonathan Capehart  | December 8, 2010; 4:25 PM ET
Categories:  Capehart  | Tags:  Jonathan Capehart  
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Comments


Why can't gays keep their sexual nastiness to themselves?

Shall we give all sexual preferences a code name so we can identify everyone by their sexual preference?

Posted by: lindalovejones | December 8, 2010 5:23 PM | Report abuse

2 hours per amendment? That's 30 hours. And what are these amendments, exactly?

Ms. Collins, you are either in favor of ending this shameful discrimination, or you are not. Sounds like you're putting politics before civil rights.

Posted by: RedBirdie | December 8, 2010 5:44 PM | Report abuse

Repealing this ridiculous law should be a now brainer. The majority of Americans support repeal, the majority of service personnel are supportive or at least ambivalent, the military leaders support repeal as does the president and the majority of the Senate.

Of course the far-right special interests in the GOP do not. So of course patriotic gay American servicemen have to be held hostage to the special interests of a few right-wingers.

Posted by: MarcMyWords | December 8, 2010 6:12 PM | Report abuse

Separate showers and urinals/commodes? Segregate straight women, homosexual women, straight men, homosexual men, plus bisexual and transsexual of each? Or, do you say nothing matters, everyone showers and sleeps together?

Please tell us how it will be handled.

Posted by: kitchendragon50 | December 8, 2010 7:05 PM | Report abuse

Early on it was thought that Obama could end DADT by Executive Order but changing the law would be better policy and politics. He certainly has enough cover now to do it by Executive order if that is still an option??

Posted by: prhogan | December 8, 2010 9:48 PM | Report abuse

Just what are gay bashers afraid of? Do they think all gays think about nothing but sex all the time? Is that what you believe heteros do? Sounds like they are projecting their own faults on others. If gays have to listen to straight guys talk about their conquests, then straight should have to listen to gay comments. Maybe then both would shut up.

Posted by: mikel7 | December 8, 2010 10:26 PM | Report abuse

Just what are gay bashers afraid of? Do they think all gays think about nothing but sex all the time? Is that what you believe heteros do? Sounds like they are projecting their own faults on others. If gays have to listen to straight guys talk about their conquests, then straight should have to listen to gay comments. Maybe then both would shut up.

Posted by: mikel7 | December 8, 2010 10:26 PM | Report abuse

lindalovejones writes "Why can't gays keep their sexual nastiness to themselves?

Shall we give all sexual preferences a code name so we can identify everyone by their sexual preference?"

==============
Answer: We can't keep our so-called nastiness to ourselves for the same reason YOU can't keep your NASTINESS to yourself. We are GAY, and we have FAMILIES and children. How would you like to not be able to acknowledge your family? In fact, if it hadn't been for me, a gay man on a submarine during the Cold War, we wouldn't have had Protestant services. Why? Because I was the ONLY ONE who would perform the services as a lay reader, and it wasn't because I didn't ask every other person onboard and they would NOT do it. So, if it hadn't been for a GAY MAN are supposed "nasty person" then there would not have been Protestant services onboard our submarine during the Cold War! I'm quite certain G-d thought it was okay since no one ELSE would DO the services!!!

Posted by: cowboyneok | December 9, 2010 12:32 AM | Report abuse

lindalovejones writes "Why can't gays keep their sexual nastiness to themselves?

Shall we give all sexual preferences a code name so we can identify everyone by their sexual preference?"

==============
Answer: We can't keep our so-called nastiness to ourselves for the same reason YOU can't keep your NASTINESS to yourself. We are GAY, and we have FAMILIES and children. How would you like to not be able to acknowledge your family? In fact, if it hadn't been for me, a gay man on a submarine during the Cold War, we wouldn't have had Protestant services. Why? Because I was the ONLY ONE who would perform the services as a lay reader, and it wasn't because I didn't ask every other person onboard and they would NOT do it. So, if it hadn't been for a GAY MAN or supposed "nasty person" then there would not have been Protestant services onboard our submarine during the Cold War! I'm quite certain G-d thought it was okay since no one ELSE would DO the services!!!

Posted by: cowboyneok | December 9, 2010 12:32 AM | Report abuse

One other thing "lindalovejones" I was told by almost EVERY SINGLE one of my shipmates on my submarine while being processed out for being gay that, "If you are what it means to be gay then I have NO PROBLEM with it..."

Why do YOU have a problem with other's sexual orientation? Usually when I hear someone screaming about something they have one finger pointing out and FOUR pointing back at themselves...

Posted by: cowboyneok | December 9, 2010 12:36 AM | Report abuse

DADT is just another version of religious based hatred that poisons our society. Here we have gay people who are willing to die for their country, while we have relgiious people and others simply poisoned by the relgious wrong trying to keep them in the closet of shame and fear.

Wonder how long a policy would last if Catholic and Evangelical Protestants were forbidden to admit their religion. And they were demonized in our society, fired from their job sometimes, not permitted to marry etc.

DADT is just a variant of segregation. Its time to end is now.

America needs to do what every other orig nato country except Islamic turkey has done- allow gays to serve proudly and admit who they are.

And if that exposes our religious extremists to ridicule, that is all the better.

Posted by: SJames6621 | December 9, 2010 2:56 AM | Report abuse

And I might add all these gay people are already fighting with, dying with, and living with str8 soldiers. It shows that it doesn't matter to most soldiers,and I've met and asked a lot of them about the issue. Most of them only care that the gay soldier does his job to the best of his ability, because they all depend on each other to stay alive.

Prejudice is like an ingrained poison that seeps into our society, poisons our language and culture. But is backed by some politicians and churches because hatred often sells.

What ending DADt will do is to further expose the evil ones for whom their only contribution to society is hatred, demonization etc. Soldiers who already respect their comrads in Arms and discover some are gay will quickly get over any issues. Its all about respect vs demonization and terrorization of people who are willing to die for their country, and if you have a clear mind, you just need to try and understand what a horrible policy this is.

Just anther variant of eg Slavery, segregation, the KKK, not allowing blacks to marry, not allowing inter=racial marriage and not allowing women to vote in the past.

All justified int he name of God. All changed, though the poison still lives on in parts of society and gays are just the next victims

And that is what the battle is all about.

Posted by: SJames6621 | December 9, 2010 3:06 AM | Report abuse

Repealing DADT would be insanity. Why put men and "women" in the showers together?!! The Marines know best about the danger of repealing DADT. A gay love affair could tear a whole platoon apart while in combat.

Posted by: Horace2 | December 9, 2010 5:18 AM | Report abuse

why don't we stop pretending that the conservatives have the keys to our constitution and unlock it at their whim to bestow what rights they seem to think fair. gay americans are americans and deserve the same rights and priviledges as the rest of us do, without having to pass some religious test put forth by conservatives.

Posted by: blinwilly | December 9, 2010 8:08 AM | Report abuse

Does anyone think that having openly gay individuals serve in the Marines might result in some "sexual orientation" violence? Whether or not you believe in repeal of Dont's Ask, Don't tell or not, be prepared for the occasional death and/or severe assault that will result from this integration into a violent, macho culture. Hopefully, this won't happen but it should be a concern.

Posted by: Harry14 | December 9, 2010 8:14 AM | Report abuse

What the heck is it with homophobes and showers? Me thinks they need a cold shower to repress some of their projection.

Posted by: RobGinChicago | December 9, 2010 9:39 AM | Report abuse

So our armed forces who are trained to fight terrorists, watch for IEDs and people shooting at them, are afraid to shower next to a gay man or woman! Unbelievable! McCain also needs to go to Arlington and speak to the parents of the deceased gay soldiers who are buried there and throughout this country. A sham and a shame!!

Posted by: wagnerdianne | December 9, 2010 9:49 AM | Report abuse

So our armed forces who are trained to fight terrorists, watch for IEDs and people shooting at them, are afraid to shower next to a gay man or woman! Unbelievable! McCain also needs to go to Arlington and speak to the parents of the deceased gay soldiers who are buried there and throughout this country. A sham and a shame!!

Posted by: wagnerdianne | December 9, 2010 9:50 AM | Report abuse

So our armed forces who are trained to fight terrorists, watch for IEDs and people shooting at them, are afraid to shower next to a gay man or woman! Unbelievable! McCain also needs to go to Arlington and speak to the parents of the deceased gay soldiers who are buried there and throughout this country. A sham and a shame!!

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

This has probably killed it:

http://www.npr.org/blogs/itsallpolitics/2010/12/09/131933043/house-democrats-refuse-to-take-up-tax-cut-deal

Sorry, Dude, but Pelosi thinks she is smarter than you. To bad if she is wrong, you and the Gays and Latinos pay the price, not her...


Kind of strange for someone from California to throw those Groups under the bus, but it does clarify her priorities just a little bit, doesn't it?


;'{P~~~

Posted by: Clearbrook | December 9, 2010 1:10 PM | Report abuse

This has probably killed it:

http://www.npr.org/blogs/itsallpolitics/2010/12/09/131933043/house-democrats-refuse-to-take-up-tax-cut-deal

Sorry, Dude, but Pelosi thinks she is smarter than you. To bad if she is wrong, you and the Gays and Latinos pay the price, not her...


Kind of strange for someone from California to throw those Groups under the bus, but it does clarify her priorities just a little bit, doesn't it?


;'{P~~~

Posted by: Clearbrook | December 9, 2010 1:10 PM |

Yeah, if Pelosi doesn't agree to every single Republican proposal that means it's her fault that DADT hasn't been repealed.

Posted by: light_bearer | December 10, 2010 8:42 PM | Report abuse

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