Republicans block DADT repeal

Democrats were 3 votes short of the 60 they needed yesterday to prevent a filibuster and approve the Defense Appropriations bill, containing the provision ending DADT. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid called it like it is, before calling out the vote: “It’s quite clear that they’re trying to run out the clock.”

Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates told reporters that he was “disappointed, but not surprised.” He also indicated that he wouldn’t move forward on any other military initiatives, like a new education plan, until DADT is sorted out: “I think it would be a serious mistake to start training and preparing before the law is changed because I think it will just confuse the troops,” he said. “What is the law and what’s not the law if you’re being trained to go in both directions?”

For women, DADT’s continued existence has particularly serious consequences. The Service Women’s Action Network explains, “Servicewomen are disproportionately targeted under the blatantly discriminatory DADT policy. Both women and minority members are discharged at significantly higher rater than their men and white counterparts. Regardless of their actual sexual orientation, women are especially vulnerable to “lesbian baiting,” the practice of coercing women into sexual activity by threatening to ‘expose’ them as lesbians.”  

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