In a procedural vote today, the Senate failed to end a filibuster on the Defense Authorization bill, which included a repeal of the discriminatory Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates has asked for Congress to repeal the policy immediately, rather than waiting for courts to strike it down, in order for the Defense Department to have control over the change in procedure. The majority of Americans oppose the policy, and a recent Pentagon survey of members of the military found that 70% thought repeal would have positive, mixed, or no effect on their work.
Michael Keegan, President of People For the American Way, issued the following statement:
“Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell has been a failed experiment in discrimination—it has kept countless patriotic Americans from serving their country in the military, and sent thousands of brave men and women packing after honorable careers in the armed forces. For too long, an unjust, ineffective, and unpopular policy has been kept in place by the divisive politics of the far-right fringe. As Sec. Gates has acknowledged, Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell won’t hold up for long in the court of law. The Senate’s refusal to end the policy at Sec. Gates’ request—and to sink an important Defense bill along with it—is short-sighted and irresponsible, and puts right-wing politics ahead of national security.”