Senate Republicans obstructed an effort to debate the defense authorization bill, which includes a provision to repeal "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," The New York Times reports. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, the newspaper reports, "switched his vote to no at the last minute, a procedural maneuver that allows him to call for a revote." Sen. Carl Levin, chairman of the Armed Services Committee, said, "We should not deny the opportunity to take up the bill, which is essential for the men and women in the military because we disagree with some of the provisions in the bill."
Aubrey Sarvis, executive director of the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, a leading organization in the efforts to repeal "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," said in a press statement, "Today's Senate vote was a frustrating blow to repeal this horrible law. We lost because of the political maneuvering dictated by the midterm elections. Let's be clear: Opponents to repealing ‘Don't Ask, Don't Tell' did not have the votes to strike those provisions from the bill. Instead, they had the votes for delay. Time is the enemy here. We now have no choice but to look to the lame duck session where we'll have a slim shot. 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. Servicemembers Legal Defense Network will continue to take this fight to the American people, the vast majority of whom support repeal of ‘Don't Ask, Don't Tell.'"
The Palm Center, a research group at the University of California, Santa Barbara, which has published reports on the ineffectiveness of the policy, also lamented the Senate's action. Christopher Neff, deputy executive director of the Palm Center, said, "Discharges and discrimination will continue because of today's vote in the Senate. This was not just a vote on whether to end a filibuster. This was a vote on the Senate floor on whether to end discrimination against gays and lesbians in the U.S. Military."
Rea Carey, executive director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, said in a press statement, that lawmakers are once again "playing politics with people's lives. Filibustering the defense authorization bill to block action on ‘Don't Ask, Don't Tell' repeal ... is a disappointment and disservice to our country."
The Family Research Council, a lobbying group for religious conservatives, praised the senate action, specifically lauding "Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, Senator John McCain and Senator Jim Inhofe for their successful efforts to stop this legislation which would not only force open homosexuality on the military but also turn our military hospitals into abortion clinics."
For more on the efforts to repeal "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," watch video of an ACS panel discussion here.