'Don't ask, don't tell' repeal goes to Senate again. Has anything changed?
Last week, Senate Republicans blocked a repeal of 'don't ask, don't tell.' Now the House has passed the repeal in a different form. But the result in the Senate could be the same.
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“Because of the unique circumstances in which the bill is being considered and the importance of the legislation to our men and women serving in uniform at a time of war, we have agreed to drop many controversial provisions that were included in the House and Senate versions of the bill,” said Sens. Carl Levin (D) of Michigan and John McCain (R) of Arizona, the chair and ranking member of the Armed Services Committee, in a joint statement released as the House was voting.Skip to next paragraph
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The House vote fell out mainly on partisan lines, with 15 Democrats opposing repeal of the ban and 15 Republicans supporting it.
Republicans opposing repeal say that the move will be disruptive to troops in combat. “We should not forget that we are fighting two wars,” said Rep. Mike Pence (R) of Indiana, during Wedensday’s floor debate.
In a recent Pentagon survey, more than two-thirds of troops said that they did not object to openly gay men and women serving. But reservations were stronger among combat forces in the Army and Marines. Marine Commandant Gen. Jim Amos on Tuesday told Pentagon reporters that repeal of the ban could cost lives. “I don’t want to lose any marines to the distraction,” he said.
Recent polls show that a strong majority of Americans now favor repeal. Some 77 percent of those polled in a recent ABC News/Washington Post survey said that they supported allowing openly gay men and women to serve in the military.
Indeed, lawmakers say that they are seeing fewer objections from voters to a repeal than in past years. Rep. Ron Paul (R) of Texas, who voted to repeal of the ban as a matter of civil liberties, says his office has received no letters from voters on the issue in the run-up to the vote.
“Feelings are not as strong as they used to be,” he says.