Next Steps for “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”

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Yesterday was a roller-coaster day for supporters of repeal, but it ended with the campaign to end “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” very much alive.

The Republican vote to block repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” was met with disappointment across the country. The vote came despite the efforts of hundreds of thousands of supporters in recent days, weeks and months to end this discriminatory law.

This morning, The Atlantic reported on volunteer efforts to secure enough votes for repeal:

“On Thursday, three OFA [Organizing for America] volunteers—an Iraq War veteran, a retired army physician and colonel, and the spouse of a West Point graduate—delivered a petition with more than 582,000 signatures to Sen. Collins' office.”

Senator Collins (ME) was the only Republican to vote for repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” yesterday.

After the vote, USA Today covered the reaction of Congressional Democrats to the vote:

“Democrats blamed Republicans who had vowed to block any legislation, including defense spending, until a deal is reached on extending an array of tax cuts due to expire Jan. 1.

"There are a lot of people all over the world right now in our military that are scratching their head, thinking what in the world has happened," said Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., pointing to funding for military operations.”

And it’s not just Democrats who support repeal, Greg Sargent, writing for the Washington Post, points out:

“The only group in this country that opposes repeal are self-described conservative Republicans. According to a new Gallup poll, self-described moderate Republicans strongly support repeal.

"Republicans overall are evenly divided on repeal, 47-48. But the opposition among them is entirely driven by conservatives. Sixty-nine percent of moderate and liberal Republicans favor repeal, putting them in line with every other group, including independents (70 percent) and conservative Democrats (79 percent).”

It became clear late yesterday that this was not the end of the fight. Senators Lieberman (I-CT) and Collins (R-ME) have introduced a stand-alone bill to repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”  The bill has been co-sponsored by Democratic Senators including, Kristin Gillibrand (D-NY) and Mark Udall (D-CO).

Responding to news of the new Senate bill, Speaker Nancy Pelosi said:

“An army of allies stands ready in the House to pass a standalone repeal of the discriminatory policy once the Senate acts.”

Only three more votes are needed in the Senate for the bill to proceed. Add your support to the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” –write Republican Senators and ask them to do the right thing: vote for repeal.