John Stang – News Editor
On Tuesday, the U.S. Senate failed to pass a motion which would allow an opening for the debate over repealing the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy of the U.S. Armed Forces. The main reason for not taking up the measure was because the Democrats did not have the 60 votes necessary to overcome a Republican filibuster.
The provisions were attached to a bill that would authorize $726 billion in military spending for next year. The bill also included a provision that would allow a path to citizenship for students and soldiers who have parents that are illegal immigrants.
The bill failed 56 to 43. Senators Blanche Lincoln and Mark Pryor from Arkansas along with Senator Susan Collins from Maine all voted with the Republicans. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid also had to switch his vote at the last minute for a parliamentary procedure so it could come up for another vote later. The vote also failed because many Republicans were angry that Democrats were not allowing them to offer up more amendments to the bill.
“There are many controversial issues in this bill,” Collins said. “They deserve to have a civil, fair, and open debate on the Senate floor, and that is why I am so disappointed that rather than allowing full and open debate and the opportunity for amendments from both sides of the aisle, the majority leader apparently intends to shut down the debate and exclude Republicans from offering a number of amendments.”
Part of the strategy for Democrats was to try to deliver on some of the campaign promises the from last election cycle to try to sway voters for the upcoming midterm elections in November. Some members want to take up the vote again after December 1 when a report is due from the military about the impact of repealing DADT.
As far as the ban goes, there are differing opinions at Roanoke College from more liberal to conservative views.
“Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell is not a great policy, but I’m not sure the military is ready to give it up yet,” said Nathan Repass ’13.
Some celebrities have also come out in full support of wanting to repeal the ban on moral grounds. Pop star Lady Gaga has been one of those voices by claiming at a recent rally, “If you don’t like it, you can go home.”
“I believe anything Lady Gaga says,” said Meghan Kelly ’13. jokingly stated when the matter was referenced.
As far as military support, both Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen have testified before Congress that they would like to see the policy overturned.
DADT was originally passed during the Clinton administration in 1994 as a compromise for Republicans and Democrats. The policy says that as long as a military person is actively serving he or she does not have to reveal his or her sexual preference or be forced in any way to talk about his or her sexual orientation.