Don't Hold Your Breath for Don't Ask, Don't Tell Repeal

Exec. Prod. of Franchises & Series. He previously reported for HuffPost, L.A. Daily Journal, and Biloxi Sun-Herald.
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Gay rights protesters outside the military recruiting station in Times Square. (Photo: Reuters Pictures)

Supporters of a push to repeal the military's ban on openly gay service members are saying that it's more likely the measure will stay on the books now that Republicans are set to take control of the House of Representatives in the new Congress.

President Obama said that it was "the right thing to do" for lawmakers to take up a repeal vote in the lame-duck session of the current Congress. And Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said Wednesday that a repeal vote could be squeezed through the lame-duck agenda. Reid unsuccessfully tried to get "Don't Ask" repealed by including it in a defense spending bill, a tactic supporters could try again.

But Senator John McCain, R-Ariz, has vowed to filibuster or otherwise block any repeal vote in the final weeks of the current Congress. 

The incoming Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, Rep. Howard "Buck" McKeon, R-Calif., released a statement Wednesday, saying, "Republicans on both sides of the Capitol are committed to passing a National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2011 that is not weighed down by the current majority's social agenda items."

If Democrats fail to repeal the military's gay ban in their final weeks in power, it could be a very long time before the measure comes off the books. Despite the fact that a majority of Americans favor repeal, the incoming GOP majority has said it wants to leave the policy in place. The Obama administration recently appealed a federal court's decision striking down the ban, meaning the policy will likely be bouncing through the courts for a very long time. 

Ten Democrats on the House Armed Services Committee—many of whom supported repeal of the ban—were defeated in Tuesday's elections. Among them was Rep. Patrick Murphy, D-Penn., the House's most outspoken proponent of repeal. 

Feature photo: Molly Riley/Reuters

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