By the end of this week, we should know whether Congress will make a play to end the military’s Don’t Ask Don’t Tell policy on gay service members, or whether they’ll allow continued discrimination in our nation’s armed forces. Aubrey Sarvis of the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, the main advocates for repealing the policy, called it an “all hands on deck” moment. Adam Bink lays out the timeline:
On Thursday, the Senate Armed Services Committee will hold a vote on repealing Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. The House is also expected to vote late this week. As I wrote last week, if we lose this vote, it will be a significant blow even if repeal passes in the House. Or, put another way, we simply cannot afford to lose this vote.
The House could end up with a full floor vote, but they are waiting for the Senate Armed Services Committee to take the lead. If they end up passing a defense authorization bill out of committee with repeal, the House will take it to the floor and try to insert it as an amendment. At last count, supporters needed three of these five votes on the Senate Armed Services Committee for passage: Robert Byrd, Bill Nelson, Evan Bayh, Jim Webb and Scott Brown. Ben Nelson is an announced No; Susan Collins is a Yes.
All of this attention from the LGBT community, which has led to a strained relationship with the White House, could be forcing the Administration in the direction of a deal. At least, that’s what Politico is reporting:
TALK UNDER WAY: Congressional leaders, gay rights advocates and Pentagon officials are meeting at the White House Monday morning to discuss an emerging deal on repealing the military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” ban on gays in the military, sources say.
SLDN has been bombarding Congressional offices with calls today demanding repeal. So far, we know that Nancy Pelosi has been strongly behind the repeal effort, vowing to end the policy in this Congress. So all of this could be coming to a head today.
UPDATE: Democracy for America has added to this effort with a petition signed by 100,000 Americans, calling for repeal of DADT.