A bid to initiate a debate in the US Senate that could have led to the repeal of the American military’s ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ (DADT) policy has failed.
Advocates for the proposed debate on the annual defense policy bill only got 56 of the 60 votes required to start the process that would include an amendment in the bill to lift the ban on openly gay and lesbian military personnel.
Led by Senator John McCain, the debate was blocked primarily by Republican senators.
Not all of these opposed the repeal of the 17 year old law; some chose to block the debate because they opposed an additional amendment that aims to give legal status to immigrants who attend college or join the military.
“Today’s Senate vote was a frustrating blow to repeal this horrible law. We lost because of the political manoeuvring dictated by the mid-term elections,” said Army veteran and Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (SLDN) Executive Director Aubrey Sarvis.
“The Senate absolutely must schedule a vote in December when cooler heads and common sense are more likely to prevail once midterm elections are behind us,” he said.
“This filibuster was election year politics at its worst,” added Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese. “It’s a shame that during a time of war, Republican Senators wouldn’t even allow debate on the bill that provides a pay raise for our troops.”
Commentators say that the latest development could hamper attempts to repeal DADT this year. According to a recent CNN poll, nearly 80 percent of Americans support repealing the policy.