The US Senate has dealt a near fatal blow to attempts to repeal the country’s controversial ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ policy for gays in the military.
The Senate failed to advance the repeal National Defense Authorization Act by a 57-40 vote.
However The Advocate reports that Senators Joe Lieberman, Mark Udall and GOP Susan Collins have vowed to introduce a bipartisan stand-alone repeal bill and push it through before the end of the year.
According to The Advocate, Senator Lieberman tweeted out that majority leader had agreed to bring the freestanding bill to the Senate for a vote before the session ends.
It stated that minutes after the vote, Udall said from the Senate floor that he would be willing to work through the holidays to get a repeal measure passed and that he would encourage his colleagues to join him.
Metropolitan Community Church (US) spokeswoman Rev. Elder Nancy Wilson condemned the failure of the bill through the senate.
“I join my voice to that of human rights activists around the globe decrying not only the failure of the United States Senate to end the 17-year ban, but the lack of courage and conviction in disallowing even a conversation on the merits of the measure,” she said in a statement.
“The ban, known as ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,’ has long been used as a weapon of mass division, often diverting attention from the principles of equality and justice for all in favor of fanciful projections about who would and would not be able to shower in safety; who would and would not be able to keep their focus on the battlefront. Today U.S. legislators lost their focus: representing all of us equally and fairly.
“It is nothing short of shameful that those elected to represent a public who overwhelmingly called for the end of the ban, chose political machinations over honoring their call to serve our common interests. It is nothing short of shameful that the real progress toward acceptance and inclusion witnessed in the military personnel survey compiled as part of the research mandated in consideration of an appeal vote, was completely ignored.
“Our national leaders chose fear and projection over the strong inclination of the American people for acceptance of diversity.”
US President Barack Obama has previously committed to ending the bill, though has never provided a timetable or specifics for the promise.
“I will end ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’,” a Human Rights Campaign dinner in October.
“We should not be punishing patriotic Americans who have stepped forward to serve the country. We should be celebrating their willingness to step forward and show such courage … especially when we are fighting two wars.”
Even pop sensation Lady Gaga has thrown her celebrity behind attempts to repeal the policy.
“Equality is the prime rib of America … [gay soldiers] don’t get to enjoy the greatest cut of meat my country has to offer,” she told a ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ rally in September.
“I’m here because ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ is wrong. It’s injust. I’m here today because I would like to propose a new law. A law that sends home the soldier that has the problem. Our new law is called, ‘If you don’t like it, go home’.”