The U.S. Senate couldn’t find the 60 votes it needed today to open debate on a defense authorization bill that includes an amendment to repeal the military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy on gay and lesbian servicemembers, the Washington Post reports.
The vote on the cloture motion was 56-43. No Republican senator voted for cloture; Arkansas Democrats Blanche Lincoln and Mark Pryor crossed the aisle to vote with the GOP against cloture, and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., did so as well as a parliamentary tactic so he can bring a cloture motion back to the floor later. U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, didn’t vote.
Republicans faulted Reid for blocking other amendments to the defense authorization bill.
U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., said today on the Senate floor that the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy is hurting our military and costing our nation.
“Fourteen thousand servicemen and women have been discharged from the military under Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. It has cost taxpayers about $290 million at least, maybe up to half a billion dollars to replace soldiers who were discharged under this policy,” she said. “And I know many Americans have seen in their living rooms, coming on the TV, men and women who are our neighbors’ kids and our neighbors who have been kicked out of the military even though they were stellar – stellar – servicemen and women.”
Most of our military allies allow gays and lesbians to serve in their military without discrimination, Boxer said.
“And so for us to stand with Iran, for us to stand with Cuba, for us to stand with North Korea, Pakistan and Turkey over Australia, Britain, Denmark, France, Italy, Netherlands, Switzerland, Austria, Canada, Germany, etc., it just doesn’t make any sense,” she said. “And the point is, because we’re part of this coalition of 22 other nations (with troops in Afghanistan), our fighting men and women are already fighting side-by-side with those who may well be gays and lesbians.”
Republican senatorial nominee Carly Fiorina has said she supports repealing Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell if military leaders say that’s the right thing to do; at a meeting with veterans in Oakland in February, she said it seems a shame that patriots can’t serve without lying about who they are, especially in time of war.
“As Carly has stated on the campaign trail, she very much supports the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell and looks forward to the pending review of the policy by the military’s top officials, but she thinks it is extremely disappointing that career politician Barbara Boxer and her fellow Democrats keep playing election year politics with such important military issues,” Fiorina spokeswoman Andrea Saul said this afternoon. “Instead of maneuvering to try and save the only job she cares about – her own – Barbara Boxer should actually work to represent the people of California in a forthright way, which is exactly why Carly Fiorina wants to go to Washington and stop the politics of old.”
Lots of outrage from gay-rights advocates, after the jump…