Libby Casey, APRN – Washington DC
Senate Democrats lost their attempt today to take up a major military bill that includes allowing the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell – the Clinton-era policy banning openly gay soldiers in the military. The defense authorization bill also called for $726 billion in defense spending, including a pay raise for troops.
Democrats weren’t able to gain any Republicans.
Alaska Democratic Senator Mark Begich says it’s too bad the vote to start debate on the bill faltered, because he believes it’s time to discuss allowing gays to serve openly in the military.
Supporters like Senator Begich point out that the Senate bill would not immediately lift Don’t Ask Don’t Tell… It would wait until a study is completed and the President and top military commanders agree that ending the law would not hurt troop morale or battle-readiness.
Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Admiral Mike Mullen have called to end the ban on openly gay service-members. But Tuesday, the President’s appointee to head the Marine Corps, General James Amos, told the Senate Armed Services Committee that he fears changing the policy will be “distracting” to Marines in the battlefield.
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