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DADT Blocked in Senate, Introduced As Stand-Alone Bill

The National Defense Authorization bill failed to receive the necessary 60 votes to overcome the Republican filibuster yesterday. Aubrey Sarvis, Executive Director of Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, powerfully stated, “Today a band of Senators voted to continue the discrimination against gay and lesbian service members who are fighting and dying for our country…History will hold these senators accountable and so will many of their constituents.” Following the vote, Senators Susan Collins (R-ME) and Joseph Lieberman (I-CT) announced their plans to introduce a stand-alone bill to repeal DADT. Both US Secretary of Defense Gates and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Admiral Mullen have urged Congress to repeal DADT and endorsed the Pentagon study on DADT released at the beginning of this month. The report included a comprehensive survey of military service personnel and their spouses on their views of gays and lesbians openly serving in the military and found that the repeal of DADT would pose low risk to military effectiveness. Seventy percent of those surveyed stated they thought repeal would have a positive, mixed, or no effect. In May, the Defense Spending bill passed in the House but was filibustered in the Senate. DADT was instituted by former President Bill Clinton in 1993 and prohibits the military from inquiring about a service member’s sexual orientation, and also calls for the discharge of anyone who acknowledges being lesbian or gay.

Sources:

Servicemembers Legal Defense Network Press Release 12/9/10; NPR 12/9/10; New York Times 12/9/10

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