|U.S. Senate again blocks DADT repeal|
The U.S. Senate voted again Dec. 9 against taking action to authorize repeal of the Don't Ask, Don't Tell ban on open gays in the military. The vote was 57-40. Sixty votes were needed to launch the process.
Repeal authorization has already passed the House of Representatives, and President Barack Obama, Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Mike Mullen are eager to end the ban.
All Senate Republicans except Susan Collins of Maine voted against repeal. All Democrats except Joseph Manchin of West Virginia voted for repeal. Two Republicans and one Democrat did not vote.
"This was a major failure on the part of the Senate to simply do its job and pass an annual defense authorization bill (of which DADT repeal is a part)," said Alexander Nicholson, executive director of Servicemembers United. "Politics prevailed over responsibility today. ... Since the votes are there in isolation (from the political battles the measure apparently is mired in), 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."
Sen. Joseph Lieberman, I-Conn., said he promptly introduced a new bill to repeal DADT that is not tied to any other bill.
"Senator Collins and I and others are introducing a free standing bill to repeal DADT today," Lieberman tweeted. "We are working with our colleagues and are confident that there are at least 60 Senators who support repeal. Senator Reid told me he will 'Rule 14' the free-standing DADT repeal so it skips me and can come directly to the Senate floor."