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December 9th, 2010
06:10 PM ET

Senate rejects bid to open debate on repeal of 'don't ask, don't tell'

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/12/09/t1.getty_troopnoface2.jpg width=300 height=169]CNN Wire Staff

The Senate on Thursday rejected a Democratic bid to open debate on repealing the "don't ask, don't tell" policy banning openly gay and lesbian soldiers from military service, possibly killing any chance for it to get passed in the current congressional session.

However, a bipartisan group of senators immediately said they would raise the issue again in a separate piece of legislation. It was unclear if the bid to separate the repeal provision from a larger defense authorization bill would increase its chances for approval.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada, called Thursday's vote without an agreement with any Republican senators to support the motion, ensuring it would fail. The vote was 57-40 in favor of the cloture motion that required 60 votes to pass.

A Republican filibuster forced Democrats to seek a deal that would get them the necessary GOP support to get the 60 votes to proceed. The Democratic caucus has 58 members, meaning they needed at least two Republicans to join them to overcome the filibuster.

Reid had been negotiating with moderate Republican Sen. Susan Collins of Maine for her support, and he postponed a planned vote Wednesday to allow more time for the talks to reach agreement.

However, Reid announced Thursday he was calling the vote to open debate on the defense authorization bill, saying it was time to act on it after months of Republican obstruction and intransigence.

Collins, apparently caught by surprise, missed the start of Reid's speech and requested a chance to question him on the Senate floor. She reiterated her support for repealing "don't ask, don't tell" and asked if the deal she had been discussing with Reid on Wednesday still stood.

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Filed under: 360° Radar • Military
soundoff (3 Responses)
  1. Katja in Tampa, Florida

    This again proves that the Senate and the House are full of a bunch of morons that should have had term limits imposed on them. Most of those senators have been in office longer then I've been alive. They are out of touch with the people.

    December 9, 2010 at 9:24 pm |
  2. Stephanie

    I can't believe this. There is no way to argue that this isn't a violation of the constitutional rights of gay servicemen and women. We've abolished two forms of discrimination already (race and gender), why is this so hard? I don't care about your position on the lifestyle, but the military should reflect current US governmental policy. If it is not illegal to identify as gay in the general public, then the army shouldn't have the right to judge or reprimand soldiers based on that preference.

    And what about bisexuals, and straight men/women who have had homosexual experiences? Will we disqualify them, too? Is every girl who ever kissed another girl out? What about a men who have had an attraction to another man? The number of straight men who have had self-identified "sex" with other men is thought to be about 10 percent of the married population. The numbers for more platonic activities must be much higher. Now, we are really cutting into our recruitment pool, here! I think that sexuality is something that no governing body should dictate (or could dictate, legally), bar it hurting another person.

    December 9, 2010 at 7:24 pm |
  3. AO 2

    I severed in the US Navy from 1991-1999. I was deployeed three times to the gulf aboard an aircraft carriers. I'm a straight male and I would say I would not have a problem serving with a guy man or women. I do belive a lot of service personnel would have issues. The only problem I have is sleeping and bathing in close quarters. That would mean you would need four seperate sleeping quarters on a ship. Straight men, straight women, guy men and guy women. I guess I would also say for their own safety and the intergrity of the military the Don't ask Don't tell should remain inplace. It's sad to say but I don't think the military is ready or setup to over turn this.

    December 9, 2010 at 6:59 pm |