21 September 2010

DADT Filibustered

No Republicans voted to advance a Defense appropriations bill including a repeal of the Don't Ask, Don't Tell rule of gay, lesbian and transexual servicemen in the face of a filibuster threat.

Maine Republican Susan Collins who supports overturning the ban, suppported the filibuster "because Republicans weren't given sufficient chance to offer amendments to the wide-ranging policy bill. . . . Democratic Sens. Blanche Lincoln and Mark Pryor, both of Arkansas, voted with Republicans . . . . The vote was 56-43, four short of the 60 required to advance under Senate rules. . . . [Senate Majority Leader Harry] Reid cast his own vote in opposition as a procedural tactic. Under Senate rules, doing so enabled him to revive the bill. . . . An estimated 13,000 people have been discharged under the law since its inception in 1993. Although most dismissals have resulted from gay service members outing themselves, gay rights' groups say it has been used by vindictive co-workers to drum out troops who never made their sexuality an issue."

The Defense appropriations bill is a "must pass" bill, and also is intended to be the device by which the DREAM Act to grant legal status to young adult undocumented non-citizens could be passed.

Its defeat would force the military to shut down, unless included in an omnibus end of the fiscal year spending bill or temporary spending bill. A Department of Defense shutdown would be political suicide for both parties. The new fiscal year for the federal government starts October 1, 2010.

A federal judge has declared "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" unconstitutional, and the Obama administration could receive a similar result to inclusion of the legislation in the appropriations bill simply by not appealing the judge's ruling.

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